Aural Analytics, Inc., a privately-held digital health company focused on building the world’s most advanced speech analytics platform, today announced funding totaling $4.3 million from capital raised in a series seed round led by venture capital group Morningside Ventures and Tamarisc Ventures. The round included participation from Jamie Gates, founding partner and managing director of TPG’s Sixth Street Partners Group as well as accomplished Silicon Valley investor Marc Abramowitz, Arizona Tech Investors (ATI) and Desert Angels. Additional funding secured included a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) phase II grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
“Aural Analytics represents the most scientifically sound and technically viable approach to using speech as a method to detect and measure changes in brain health. The long sterling history of speech neuroscience sets Aural Analytics apart in the industry,” said Dr. Gerald Chan, co-founder of Morningside Group. “We believe the Aural Analytics digital platform will bring about a safe, transparent and far-reaching change in how we detect, measure and eventually diagnose neurological disease. We are happy to support their global expansion and I look forward to watching their progress.”
Proceeds from the capital raised will be used to drive the next stage of the company’s growth which will include further expansion of its clinical trial platform, the global release of its next-generation integration portal to support easy speech collection and analytics anywhere in the world, and several new clinical-grade mobile and web products to serve across the continuum of care in neurology. The company also intends to release a series of tool kits for researchers internally and externally that will power new breakthroughs in speech neuroscience and speech analytics.
“Our company was built on over 25 years of NIH and NSF-funded research and data across the spectrum of CNS diseases. Since our founding in 2015, we have led with speech neuroscience first and successfully brought to market a transparent, model-driven, clinical-grade suite of analytics that are effective in any language, for any disease, anywhere in the world,” said Daniel Jones, co-founder and chief executive officer of Aural Analytics. “This additional capital along with our extensive industry and research partnerships have set us on a course that will bring clinically-validated, scientifically-driven speech analytics to all corners of the globe.”
The tools utilized in this approach are able to detect changes in speech that are imperceptible to trained scientists or clinicians. The Aural Analytics technology platform finds characteristic changes in speech patterns that appear even in the earliest stages of disease. The goal of this line of research and its commercial applications is early detection, tracking and assessment of neurological disease.
As an example, the company has previously evaluated their metrics on interviews with the late champion boxer, Muhammad Ali. Aural Analytics’ technology showed that speech changes associated with Parkinsonism appeared in Ali’s speech years before his formal diagnosis. Similarly, Aural Analytics is prospectively tracking signs of cognitive-linguistic decline in professional athletes to detect early signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
The NSF‘s SBIR Phase II non-dilutive grant will be used to further extend the Company’s technology and analytics suites. “NSF is proud to support the technology of the future by thinking beyond incremental developments and funding the most creative, impactful ideas across all markets and areas of science and engineering,” said Andrea Belz, Division Director of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF. “With the support of our research funds, any deep technology startup or small business can guide basic science into meaningful solutions that address tremendous needs.”
About Morningside Ventures
Morningside Group was founded in 1986, by the Chan family of Hong Kong, to make private equity and venture capital investments. Morningside Group invests in private equity and venture capital opportunities in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Morningside Group has investments in the following sectors — machinery manufacturing, high-tech, media, telecommunication, life science, education and cleantech. The group is managed by investment professionals who are entrepreneurial, have deep industry knowledge and are effective in the local environment in which they operate. In addition to its investment activities, Morningside Group is deeply committed to being socially responsible. Providing access to educational opportunities and supporting scientific research are two major areas of focus for Morningside’s philanthropic endeavors. For more information, please visit morningside.com.
About The National Science Foundation & SBIR
Also known as America’s Seed Fund, the NSF SBIR grant awards nearly $190 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $1.5 million in non-dilutive funds to support research and development, helping de-risk technology for commercial success. America’s Seed Fund is congressionally mandated through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $7.5 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. For more information, visit seedfund.nsf.gov.
About The Aural Analytics Technology Platform
Aural Analytics has built a model-driven, transparent analytics engine based on decades of expertise in speech neuroscience that has been clinically validated to the highest standard in several disease indications. The cloud-based software platform combines beautiful mobile design with speech signal processing and cognitive linguistic analysis together into one powerful set of APIs that are easily extensible across the continuum of care. The platform is disease, location, language and device agnostic and has been deployed in eight languages and on four continents. Users can leave samples from anywhere in the world, any time.
The platform uses speech to extract finite but clinically relevant measures by tapping directly into various nervous system functions. The mobile first, patient centric product suite is easy to use, low cost and analytics are available in real-time. The analysis gives deep insight into key areas known to change with disease including, but not limited to, motor control, respiratory support and function and all aspects of cognitive linguistics. Aural Analytics’ solutions have been used extensively in interventional clinical trials, observational research studies and several clinical and consumer settings.
Aural Analytics, Inc. is a privately held digital health company developing the world’s most advanced speech analytics platform, built on a foundation of 25 years of speech neuroscience research and data. The Company’s platform technology is based on pioneering research from Arizona State University and reinforced by multiple high-caliber peer-reviewed publications from co-founders Julie Liss, Ph.D. and Visar Berisha, Ph.D. Winners of the 2017 Global SCRIP Award for Best Technology in Clinical Trials, Aural Analytics’ first-to-market technology platform powers health applications all over the world. The Company maintains headquarters in Scottsdale, Ariz. For more information, please visit auralanalytics.com or follow Aural Analytics on Twitter, LinkedIn, Medium and Facebook.