VoxSciences – is this the Spinvox story that should have played out?

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Stupid invention: the self-playing harmonica

It translates your voices mails into text messages for a clear monthly price and even has an API. And they are quite happy to admit that, yes, sometimes your voicemail gets typed in by a person at a call centre.

Amid the hoo-ha swirling around Spinvox at the moment, UK startup VoxSciences is just getting on with business.

CEO Ken Blackman told me that the company is – unlike the £200m private equity-backed Spinvox – self-funded, has been running for a year and employs just nine people. Is this the company Goldman Sachs should have backed instead? I have a feeling we’ll know the answer to that fairly shortly.

I gave the service a quick trial and although the machine text arrived just a tad slower than the average Spinvox one, the message was actually pretty accurate (see picture), especially as I recorded the second message on a busy road with a truck going past. FYI, the “(unclear)” bit was “Milo Yiannopoulos”. Did a person translate it? Who knows – but, as Blackman was quite happy to admit, yes, sometimes the voicemail goes through a call centre – but their main service is a conversion engine called VERBS (Virtual Engine for Recognition of Basic Speech) which converts voice messages into text messages and delivers them either as an email, SMS or via an API interface.

Meanwhile, Spinvox has mounted a new offensive – making translated calls (sent to an email address only) free in the UK until December 31st.

  • http://splendidcomms.com/blog alfie

    The thing about this whole debacle is that the media and investors are actually the fools for not asking

    “Hang on, NASA haven’t quite got this whole voice2text thing down yet, are you sure it’s all about the Alien Technology Level and not just an innovative service for making it easier to get voicemails?”

    Honestly, I think it’s a shambolic shambles that sheds good light on no-one. That said, Voxsciences is a crappy brand name.

  • http://splendidcomms.com/blog alfie

    I wish I could edit that last part (no offense Vox, you just need a good brand manager!).

  • Mike

    Ken Blackman might be happy to admit that the voicemail sometimes goes through a call centre – but their website doesn’t mention any human input at all. Plenty of talk about the “powerful conversion engine” but no mention of call centres. Much like SpinVox v1.0, really.

  • anonymous

    Ah – the quality of the press on the SpinVox story never ceases to amaze me.

    “Is this the company Goldman Sachs should have backed instead?”

    Don’t you think that VoxSciences is 100% dependent on SpnVox to do all the hard work?

  • JamesB

    Seems like a very new company…

    They have proven that anyone can copy a product like Spinvox quickly (esp with human transcribers).

    How are they different/better than everyone already in this space?

  • anonymous

    Yes, a very new company. Go look up where the techie half of the company lives. Report back.

  • http://uk.techcrunch.com/2009/09/11/investor-writes-spinvox-down-by-90-says-its-for-sale/ Investor writes Spinvox down by 90%, says it’s for sale

    […] about $4 million. It also only has 7 employees for it’s Phonetag service. ( It reminds me of Vox Sciences). And Ditech already has voice processing software and equipment inside every major carrier’s […]

  • http://eu.techcrunch.com/2009/12/14/spinvox-close-to-150-million-exit-to-nuance-not-so-fast/ Spinvox close to $150 million exit to Nuance? Not so fast

    […] luck then to tiny startup voxsciences perhaps. CrunchBase Information SpinVox Information provided by CrunchBase Tweet […]

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