M+E Daily

Respeecher: Revolutionising Audio with AI

Respeecher, a Kyiv, Ukraine-based voice cloning technology company founded in 2018, helps content creators use voices in new and exciting ways.

The company is known for recreating the voices of Darth Vader, Edith Piaf, and Elvis, all using artificial intelligence. Whether you want to resurrect a voice from the past, more easily record kids’ voices, or want more creative control over your project, Respeecher has you covered.

Alex Serdiuk, CEO and co-founder of Respeecher, spoke with MESA about the history of the company, how Respeecher handles the ethical questions surrounding AI audio innovations, and what’s in store down the road for the technology.

MESA: Can you tell us about Respeecher, and what differentiates it in the media and entertainment industry?

Serdiuk: Respeecher is at the forefront of audio innovation, harnessing the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to re-shape how we experience sound. Our core focus lies in voice cloning, allowing individuals to speak in another person’s voice seamlessly.

Unlike traditional synthetic speech technologies, Respeecher’s solutions preserve the richness and authenticity of human speech, capturing emotions, intonations, and nuances with unparalleled fidelity.

It’s important to note that we recreate the voice only when we have the permission of the voice actor or family. We are committed to upholding the highest standards of AI ethics and regulations.

Our track record speaks for itself. Respeecher synthesised a younger Luke Skywalker’s voice for Disney+’s “The Mandalorian,” bringing a beloved character to life with remarkable precision and authenticity.

Additionally, we undertook the challenge of reviving the Hungarian voice of Darth Vader, demonstrating our capability to recreate iconic voices with utmost accuracy and respect for cultural nuances.

MESA: How did Respeecher come into existence?

Serdiuk: Respeecher emerged from a simple yet ambitious idea: the ability to clone human speech and seamlessly swap voices. Founded in February 2018 by myself, Dmytro Bielievtsov, and Grant Reaber, our journey began with a vision to overcome the limitations of existing audio technologies. We’ve transformed this vision into reality through relentless dedication and expertise in AI and machine learning, empowering content creators across various industries.

MESA: What notable milestones has Respeecher achieved?

Serdiuk: Respeecher’s journey is marked by significant milestones that underscore our impact in the media and entertainment landscape:

• Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator: Completed in October 2019, solidifying our position as an innovative leader in the industry.

• Strategic funding: Respeecher raised a total of $4 million in investments, $3 million from Techstars, Comcast, ffVC, Technexus, Acrobator, and ICU. Also, in 2023, we raised $1 million in a “pre-Series A” round from Gary Vaynerchuk and funds like ffVC, Bad Ideas, ICU, and SID Venture Partners.

• Hollywood recognition: Credited in prominent productions like Disney’s “The Mandalorian” and Super Bowl commercials for our groundbreaking voice cloning technology.

• Emmy Award: Recognised with an Emmy in September 2021 for our exceptional contribution to the industry, particularly in the acclaimed documentary In Event of Moon Disaster.

• Further appreciation: Respeecher won Webby Awards (considered an Oscar among internet awards) and Clio Award.

• Expansion into healthcare: We launched our healthcare division in March 2022, leveraging our expertise to improve the lives of individuals with speech distortion.

• Creative collaborations: Collaborated with renowned artists and productions, including Aloe Blacc’s tribute to Avicii and Sony’s God of War Ragnarök. Respeecher helped Blacc pay tribute to Avicii and sing “Wake Me Up” in five languages, showcasing our ability to bridge linguistic barriers and deliver heartfelt performances across cultures.

Furthermore, Respeecher gave voice to Michael York in a healthcare initiative, leveraging our technology to enhance communication and engagement in critical healthcare settings. York’s illustrious career, spanning over 50 years in film, theatre, and voiceover narration, underscores the trust placed in Respeecher to preserve and amplify his distinctive voice.

• Respeecher technology streamed on: Netflix, HBO, Paramount+, Showtime, audible.

MESA: What principles guide Respeecher’s ethical practices?

Serdiuk: At Respeecher, ethics form the cornerstone of our operations. We are committed to ensuring that our technology is used responsibly and for positive purposes. Our ethical framework encompasses:

• No deceptive uses: Prohibiting any deceptive applications of our technology to uphold integrity and trust.

• Respect for privacy: Obtaining consent from voice owners to safeguard privacy and livelihoods.

• Selective partnerships: Working directly with trusted clients who align with our ethical standards.

• Written consent: Requiring written consent from voice owners for all projects to ensure transparency and accountability.

• Strategic approvals: Approving projects that adhere to our strict ethical guidelines to uphold our commitment to responsible innovation.

• Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI) C2PA standard.

• Moderation: We always check how our technologies are used.

MESA: How does Respeecher differentiate itself from other synthetic speech companies?

Serdiuk: Respeecher preserve the nuances and emotions of human speech, revolutionising how voices are replicated. Our track record of success in major Hollywood productions attests to our unmatched capabilities and dedication to pushing the boundaries of audio technology.

Our investment in trust and safety, alongside robust ethics policies, stands as one of our core differentiators.

We understand the importance of ensuring that our synthetic speech technology upholds the highest standards of integrity and respect for individuals’ voices and privacy. This commitment underscores our dedication to not only technological innovation but also ethical responsibility, setting us apart in the industry.

MESA: Can you provide insight into Respeecher’s future direction and innovations?

Serdiuk: In 2024, Respeecher will focus on three directions and make them even better: Our marketplace of voices, the uniqueness of our technology, and communication products, including the one that helps patients with voice issues.

We remain dedicated to pioneering advancements and continue exploring new applications for our technology, spanning diverse industries.