Voice AI startup ElevenLabs reaches unicorn status with $80 million Series B raise

Artificial intelligence (AI) startup ElevenLabs announced on Monday it has raised $80 million in Series B funding. The round was led by venture capitalist Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from entrepreneurs Nat Friedman and Daniel Gross, along with others, including Sequoia Capital.

While the two-year-old startup didn’t disclose its valuation, an insider told Reuters that the funding round valued ElevenLabs at $1.1 billion. The latest round vaults to a unicorn status, making  ElevenLabs a member of a highly-coveted unicorn club. The increased funding comes amidst growing investor interest in generative AI technology, propelling startup valuations to new heights.

This valuation marks a significant leap from the $100 million valuation recorded in the previous funding round in 2023, reflecting heightened expectations for the widespread adoption of AI voice generation across various sectors, from gaming giants to movie studios.

Based in London, ElevenLabs develops AI models and tools for creating voices with different languages, accents, and emotions. The company, led by co-founder and CEO Mati Staniszewski, currently employs around 40 remote workers globally, with plans to expand to 100 by the end of the year.

ElevenLabs serves a diverse customer base, including individual content creators and enterprises like Storytel, Paradox Interactive, and The Washington Post. Interestingly, political campaign staff in the United States are utilizing ElevenLabs to connect with voters who speak foreign languages.

According to Staniszewski, the company is anticipating a rise in AI content within social media campaigns. “We’ll see more AI content across social media campaigns. The key primitive is to make sure that people are aware that it’s AI. We are big proponents of being able to detect AI content and trace it back,” Staniszewski said.

The startup’s tools include the AI Speech Classifier, aiding in identifying AI-generated audio content. Additionally, ElevenLabs offers products focused on movie dubbing and is in the process of developing a marketplace, allowing users to generate AI voices and earn money through licensing.

“When we launched the focus was all on creators — people creating voiceovers for YouTube or social media,” Staniszewski explains. “In recent months it’s shifted a lot to B2B.”

In the competitive landscape of AI, ElevenLabs faces rivals such as OpenAI, whose ChatGPT has gained popularity in the generative AI space. Staniszewski highlighted a key difference, stating, “I think the biggest difference is that we… want to build the research, but also that workflow layer. And for us, this is the focus.”