Melbourne startup Sonnant, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for content discovery for the spoken word, has raised $750,000 in a seed round led by radio and TV company Southern Cross Austereo (SCA).
The strategic investment by SCA will help support the recent launch of LiSTNR, the rebranded PodcastOne audio channel and app.
Sonnant allows SCA to enhance its key product pillars in LiSTNR to deliver a more personalised experience to users based on their listening habits. Sonnant uses transcription, natural language processing and machine learning to transform audio and visual recordings into searchable, data rich assets.
Sonnant CEO Tony Simmons said technology now allows us them do things with the spoken word that seemed like science-fiction until a few years ago.
“Sonnant has long recognised that the consumption of audio, especially the need for better audience discovery of relevant content with podcasts, can greatly benefit by our exacting AI processes,” he said.
“Importantly, by applying Sonnant’s machine learning, SCA will reduce manual processes and SCA customers and advertisers will experience more precise results in a shorter period of time. We are very excited for the opportunity to work with Australia’s pre-eminent media organisation to create even better listener experiences and a high degree of engagement.”
SCA Head of Digital and Innovation, Chris Johnson, said that when they found Sonnant in Melbourne, they knew that an investment partnership would provide significant long-term value to both sides of the deal.
“We were delighted when Sonnant’s tech outperformed several ‘off the shelf’ products we pitted it against in testing,” he said.
“Even better that they were right in our own backyard! The partnership demonstrates our commitment to not just delivering engaging digital products but building the technical capabilities that power market leading platforms today.”