Speechmatics, Screenloop, Currensea and Riverlane Bag Tech Funding

It's a variety show with a speech recognition technology company, a hiring intelligence platform, a direct debit travel card provider and a quantum engineering company showing off their happy moments.

Good tech news in clever-clog-city Cambridge and London as Speechmatics, Screenloop, Currensea and Riverlane have secured funding.

Speechmatics, a speech recognition technology company, has raised $62 million (£51 million) in Series B funding.

Hiring intelligence platform Screenloop has announced a $7 million (£5.7 million) seed round.

Direct debit travel card provider Currensea has currency to crow about as it has crowdfunded £1.3 million from 358 investors.

Riverlane, a quantum engineering company, has got £500,000 in initial funding from Innovate UK. Riverlane will work with Rigetti, a California-based hybrid quantum-classical computing firm, as they tackle syndrome extraction on superconducting quantum computers.

Speechmatics’ Difference Engine

Cambridge-based Speechmatics says the funding was led by Susquehanna Growth Equity with participation from existing investors AlbionVC and IQ Capital.

The tech firm has built a speech-to-text engine. Its aim is to understand every voice regardless of the speakers’ demographic, age, gender, accent, dialect or location. The engine understands 34 languages for live and pre-recorded media.

Speechmatics’ engine is trained through exposure to “hundreds of thousands” of individual voices using “millions of hours” of unlabelled voice data that doesn’t require human intervention. Let’s hope those conversations were interesting or that engine may well lose the will to live.

The company was founded in 2006 and has picked up some notable clients, such as 3Play Media, Veritone, Deloitte UK, Vonage and government departments.

Speechmatics also has offices in London, Boston (US), Chennai and Brno. The investment will be used to target expansion across the US and Asia-Pacific, improving its data centre capacity and for R&D.

Screenloop Seeks US Success

Screenloop’s HQ is in London and it was founded last year. The investment was led by Stride VC with participation from Ludlow Ventures, All Iron Ventures, Passion Capital and angel investor Paul Forster, founder of job-seeking platform Indeed.

The new seed round follows an investment of $2.5 million (£1.8 million) in December 2021, bringing the total raised to $9.5 million (£7.7 million). The latest funding will be used for product investment plus R&D. It will also continue its expansion into the US and (unspecified) new markets.

Anton Boner, Screenloop’s Co-Founder and Commercial Director, states, “Our team is united in the belief that hiring is inefficient, outdated and unfair to candidates around the world. We have all been hiring managers and candidates, and we know the hiring process is broken. It’s difficult to track and measure, meaning there’s a lack of insight into what to improve and what to prioritise.”

Screenloop’s platform currently includes four product solutions for businesses. These comprise ‘Pulse’ for automated candidate feedback, ‘Interview Training’ (obvious), ‘Interview Intelligence’ (obvious again) and ‘Success’ for the referencing process.

The tech startup’s customers include TrueLayer, Beamery, Reachdesk and GorillaLogic.

The Currensea, the Currensea

London-based Currensea was targeting £1 million but like fintech firm InvestEngine has exceeded its goal this week. According to Currensea, its pre-money valuation stands at £16.5 million.

The company is authorised by the FCA and a principal member of Mastercard. It has built its own cloud payment platform, and in Q1 2022 customer spending grew by over 35% month on month.

Currensea was launched in 2018 and provides services to personal and business customers.

Its card connects to an existing bank account, and is designed to remove bank fees when users spend overseas.

A Riverlane Runs through it

According to Cambridge-based Riverlane, syndrome extraction is a “crucial step in quantum error correction”. Many firms are looking to develop quantum computers that can process more data with greater accuracy – and Riverlane senses profits to be made in healthcare, sustainable energy and advanced materials.

Riverlane explains that quantum computers use quantum bits, or qubits, that mirror the true quantum mechanical complexity of the subatomic world in a way that classical computers simply can’t. But qubits are by their nature unstable due to high sensitivity to disturbance from the external environment and thus prone to data errors.

Applying error correction techniques means measuring qubits’ status and correcting possible errors at “unprecedented speed and volume”. The challenge is exacerbated because these steps can also introduce further errors.

Quantum mechanics forbids direct measurement of the main qubits doing the actual computation as this would destroy the information they carry. Error correction techniques thus use additional qubits, called ‘syndrome qubits’, and measure their status, called syndromes, to infer the occurrence of errors on the main qubits.

If you’ve made it this far, then Riverlane and Rigetti will work together to minimise the errors introduced during syndrome extraction on a superconducting quantum computer.

Both tech firms have been busy with other developments in this field.

In February Rigetti and Nasdaq teamed up to pursue the development of quantum applications to help solve computational problems in the financial industry.

Last year Riverlane unveiled a new open-source hardware abstraction layer (HAL) that will allow quantum computer users to write programs that will be interoperable with multiple kinds of quantum hardware.

Antony Peyton
Antony Peyton
Antony Peyton is the Editor of eWeek UK. He has 18 years' journalism and writing experience. His career has taken him to China, Japan and the UK - covering tech, fintech and business. Follow on Twitter @TonyFintech.
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