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April 30, 2013

Expect Labs Nabs Funding from Intel, Samsung for Speech Analysis

Intel Capital, Samsung Venture Investment and Telefónica Digital have opened their wallets to help fund technology start-up Expect Labs “power a new generation of intelligent digital assistants.”

The funding — the amount was not released — is earmarked to aid Expect Labs as it continues to construct its Anticipatory Computing Engine, a service that has been designed to help companies “analyze and understand conversations in real-time and proactively find related information.”

The goal of the platform is to anticipate what information a user needs before a search is initiated and provide the relevant data.

“In just a few years, we will live in a world where the connected devices all around us will know who we are, understand what we say, and be far more capable of interpreting our intentions and anticipating our needs,” said Expect Labs CEO and founder Timothy Tuttle in a press release.

He said the funding will enable Expect Labs to begin work on new types of “context-aware, predictive intelligence in a wide variety of applications and devices.”

Intel has an intense interest in hardware and software technologies that can make computerized devices more intelligent and “context-aware,” said Dave Flanagan of Intel Capital.

“We are entering an era where the computing devices in our lives will not only be able to understand what we say, but they will also do a much better job anticipating the information we may need,” Flanagan said. “We look forward to working with Expect Labs to explore ways to achieve this vision.”

Samsung Venture Investment Corporation (SVIC), meanwhile, has said it expects its investment in Expect Labs to give birth to “intelligent, voice-driven and context aware behavior” for Samsung’s Smartphones, tablets and Smart TVs.

“Expect Labs has taken a unique approach to modeling context using sensor signals, such as GPS and audio, that are available in the new generation of computing devices,” said Brannon Lacey, principal at Samsung Venture Investment Corporation.  “We think this approach is an important step toward creating a new layer of application and device intelligence.”

Telefonica, one of the world’s largest telecommunication companies, is hoping its funding will power Expect Labs’ technology, which, in turn, will be used to augment its own communications applications and advertising, said head of Telefonica Digital Ventures Tracy Isacke.

“Expect Labs is at the cutting edge of the future of search, developing solutions that will change the way we discover and share information,” Isacke said. “We see huge potential for its technology across all areas of our business, and this investment opens the door to close collaboration between our technical teams.”

Expect Labs, which is based in San Francisco, was founded in 2011. It has received funding in the past from Google, Greylock Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, IDG Ventures, KPG Ventures and Quest Venture Partners.