New Venture Backed by Charles River Ventures and Sigma Partners
Unlocks Mobile Data Services with First-of-its-Kind Technology
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (August 21, 2007) – Vlingo Corporation launched today with a limited beta version of its voice-powered interface for mobile phones made possible by breakthrough speech recognition technology developed by the company. Freeing users from tedious triple-tapping to text, search or download mobile content from their phones, vlingo gives consumers control over the mobile Internet with the power of their voices. Users do not need to change how they speak or memorize a list of commands. They can say what they want, how they want, and vlingo delivers the results – word for word. For carriers and mobile application providers, vlingo unlocks the pent up demand for mobile data services across all applications, delivering unrealized revenue opportunities. See a demo at www.vlingomobile.com/demo.
Founded by industry-pioneering speech scientist Mike Phillips (a co-founder of SpeechWorks, now Nuance, NASDAQ: NUAN) and John Nguyen, and funded by Charles River Ventures and Sigma Partners, vlingo was created specifically to leverage the latest technical advancements in the mobile market. In April, the company recruited mobile industry veteran Dave Grannan, most recently a general manager at Nokia (NYSE: NOK), the world’s largest mobile phone company, as CEO.
“Consumers haven’t completely embraced mobile data services yet for one simple reason – they’re being held hostage by 12 tiny keys,” said Grannan. “Vlingo removes this obstacle of the past by giving consumers control over their phones with the power of speech. By opening up the potential for these mobile data services, vlingo gives carriers and mobile application providers a quantum leap in usability and the corresponding revenue opportunities with the only voice user interface ‘plug in’ on the market.”
Vlingo’s voice-powered interface lets users speak or type into any vlingo-enabled text box on their mobile phones – giving them access to all the information, entertainment and communication applications offered through today’s mobile services. Vlingo is easy to use, offering:
- No limits on what you can say. Until now, even the most “advanced” speechenabled applications force the user to go through specific sets of steps or a series of commands to accomplish a task (for example, for most 411 services, the user first must speak the city/state and then the name of the business). By contrast, vlingo has no application-specific grammars or scripted interactions. Vlingo lets consumers say what they want, when they want.
- The most accurate system on the market. Vlingo gets better with use. The vlingo approach takes into account what each user has spoken in the particular text box within a particular application, and dynamically leverages this knowledge to continually improve accuracy for that user, and the entire community.
- The ability to freely mix typing and talking. In situations where people prefer to enter text using the keypad on the phone, vlingo allows them to freely move between keypad entry and speech entry.
- Simple API for application integration. The vlingo technology makes use of a lightweight library, which can run on the majority of 3G and multi-media enabled phones to allow easy integration into a wide range of applications.
Leveraging a new technology called adaptive Hierarchical Language Models (HLMs), vlingo’s one-of-a-kind approach allows carriers and mobile application providers to quickly and inexpensively voice-enable any application – without custom engineering or in-house speech expertise. Unlike conventional voice recognition technologies that require individual purpose-built applications and rely on constrained grammars and scripted interactions, vlingo’s open approach eliminates a traditionally costly and intensive manual effort. This advancement allows mobile application providers and carriers to integrate speech into any existing application with ease and at a low cost. As a result, consumers get quick, easy and accurate access to mobile applications, which translates into new revenue streams.
Limited Beta Now Available
The vlingo limited beta is currently available direct to consumers on the vlingo web site. Consumers can apply to participate in the beta program at www.vlingomobile.com.
Backed by Charles River Ventures and Sigma Partners, vlingo secured $6.5 million in Series A financing. As part of the financing, Izhar Armony, general partner for Charles River Ventures; Robert Davoli, managing director with Sigma Partners; and Jeff Dunn, former COO of the Nickelodeon Networks group and chief executive of Nickelodeon Film and Enterprises joined vlingo’s board of directors.
Why tap when you can talk? Find out for yourself at www.vlingomobile.com.