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Dublin-based Developer of Voice Tech for Kids Raises $6.5M

Soapbox Labs Team

Dublin-based developer of voice tech for kids SoapBox Labs has announced a Series A investment of $6.5M from Elkstone, Astia, and a number of private investors.

SoapBox Labs’ proprietary high accuracy speech recognition technology models the voice and speech behaviours of young kids and is used in a growing number of edtech apps, toys and games. The company is the pioneering developer of safe and accurate voice technology for kids.

Named one of Europe’s hottest startups by Wired UK in 2019, SoapBox Labs was founded by Dr. Patricia Scanlon, whose popular ​TEDx talk explains the ways in which technology can “transform a child’s reading journey”.​ In 2018, Scanlon was named to Forbes list of Top 50 Women in Tech globally.

“SoapBox is at the nexus of some big trends right now – remote learning, voice, kidtech and data privacy,” said Scanlon. “We’ve invested deeply over the last 7 years in our people and our technology. With this funding we’re poised to capitalise on our strengths and the global market opportunities opening up to us in literacy, language learning and toys.”

SoapBox Labs’ proprietary voice technology caters to the unique speech patterns of children that traditional speech technology is unable to decode.

Alan Merriman, Executive Chairman at Elkstone said, “having supported SoapBox Labs from the start, Elkstone are very pleased to be part of this latest funding round. SoapBox Labs are truly at the leading edge globally of voice technology for kids – and with voice-enabled tech becoming so pivotal, and huge multi market growth predicted – it’s an Irish company we’ll be hearing a lot more about. A stellar deep tech team with a real edge and global ambitions, I’ve no doubt SoapBox Labs has the ability to really scale as evidenced by the number of top tier collaborations they already have with leading global players in numerous verticals”.

Last year, ​SoapBox Labs technology was chosen for the Reach Every Reader initiative, a partnership between the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the MIT Integrated Learning Initiative, Florida State University, and expert practitioners, students and families across the US to develop effective solutions for readers. Reach Every Reader was launched in early 2018 with funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI).