Voice cloning technology is making waves in the tech world, and ElevenLabs is at the forefront of this revolution.
The startup recently secured $80 million in its Series B funding round, co-led by influential investors such as Andreessen Horowitz, former GitHub CEO Nat Friedman, and entrepreneur Daniel Gross.
This brings ElevenLabs’ total funding to $101 million, valuing the company at over $1 billion.
Founded in 2022 by Piotr Dabkowski, an ex-Google machine learning engineer, and Mati Staniszewski, a former Palantir deployment strategist, ElevenLabs launched its AI-powered voice cloning tools around a year ago.
The inspiration behind this venture came from poorly dubbed American films, with the belief that AI could enhance the voice cloning experience.
ElevenLabs is renowned for its browser-based speech generation app, allowing users to create lifelike voices with customizable features like intonation, emotion, and cadence.
Users on the “free” plan can generate recordings from text using default voices, while paying customers can upload voice samples to create personalized styles through voice cloning.
The startup is expanding its applications, investing in technologies for audiobooks, dubbing films and TV shows, and generating character voices for games and marketing activations.
Last year, ElevenLabs introduced a “speech to speech” tool that preserves a speaker’s voice while eliminating background noise, translating, and synchronizing speech with source material.
However, the journey hasn’t been without challenges.
The platform was misused on the message board 4chan, where users shared hateful messages mimicking celebrities.
To address concerns, ElevenLabs implemented measures to detect and prevent abuse, planning further enhancements to identify audio from other voice-generating AI models.
Criticism also emerged from voice actors who claimed ElevenLabs used their samples without consent, leading to harassment campaigns.
In response, ElevenLabs is developing a marketplace for voices, allowing creators to control availability and compensation terms.