SoundHound AI, Inc. (NASDAQ:SOUN): Artificial Intelligence Speaks Out Loud

October 2, 2023

Keyvan Mahajer, CEO, SoundHound AI, Inc. (NASDAQ:SOUN)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) covers alot of different target markets and SoundHound AI, Inc. (NASDAQ:SOUN) is the platform that supports artificial intelligence (AI) voice interface technology.

Keyvan Mohajer is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of SoundHound AI, Inc. (NASDAQ:SOUN).

Inspired by science fiction and the promise of speaking naturally with the devices around us, Mr. Keyvan launched SoundHound.

As Co-Founder and CEO, he envisions a world where custom voice assistants transform how we interact with machines — making lives more convenient and productive.

Mr. Keyvan earned his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.

“I was a Ph.D. student at Stanford, specializing in speech recognition and machine learning and AI, and our vision with my co-founders was that what we now call voice AI would happen in our lifetime.

So, within our lifetime, we would talk to computers and robots and devices in natural language and they would speak back to us, and we can ask them to do things and ask for information. It’s a vision we came up with nearly 20 years ago and it was ahead of its time.

We started the company to be a part of that transformation, and we knew that it was a long-term vision. In fact, I always said from the start that this transformation will happen in about 20 years. This is SoundHound’s passion and our vision and our mission.

We spent the first 10 years building all the voice AI technologies that we needed. It’s very rare for companies to have all the ingredients for voice AI. We didn’t want to be a system integrator or to use other people’s technologies. We thought we needed to invent and own the technology so that we could disrupt and leapfrog the voice AI space, by making it ahead of the state of the art.

And in 2015, we unveiled our voice AI platform. In 2016, when we launched it, we raised several hundred million dollars from strategic and financial investors, companies like Nvidia, Samsung, Hyundai, Oracle invested in us, and then we went public in 2022.”

SoundHound AI (NASDAQ:SOUN) CEO Keyvan Mohajer predicts a bright future both for AI and his company.

“We have three pillars of revenue.

In the first pillar, we provide a branded digital assistant to physical products like cars, TVs, IoT devices and the revenue is a form of royalty.

The device manufacturers pay us a royalty for our technology.

We believe every device should have an AI assistant.

It’s the future of human-computer interfaces and 75 billion IoT devices that are projected by 2025, I believe.

A lot of these devices can’t have a touch screen, they don’t have a keyboard or a mouse, but they can afford a small inexpensive microphone and that’s all it takes to voice-enable products.

So, our pillar one is royalty revenue from devices where we provide digital assistants.

In the second pillar, we provide AI customer service for businesses.

Let’s say you call a restaurant to place an order for food, instead of a person picking up the phone, or not picking up the phone and missing out on the orders, our AI will pick up the phone, take the order, and put it on the restaurant’s point-of-sale system.

Other examples include appointment booking, reservations and so on.

The revenue model of the second pillar is subscription.

Businesses will pay us a monthly fee for our AI customer service.

If you think about pillars one and two, they can succeed on their own without one depending on the other one.

We can provide that to devices and services with well-proven business models.

Now that brings us to the third pillar, which is when we bring these together — we can bring the services that we voice-enable to the products that we voice-enable. Let me explain.

Imagine you’re driving your car and you’re talking to your car to control the radio, to play music, to control the air conditioning, to control your navigation.

And then you can also talk to your car to find restaurants and order food.

And you can have the food be ready for pick-up when you get to the restaurant or have it delivered to your house.

So you don’t even have to go to the drive-thru.

You don’t have to call the restaurant.

You don’t have to use a mobile app.

You just continue to talk to your car, and you can order food, you can book appointments, you can make reservations, and so on.

This is our third pillar.

The revenue of this pillar is monetization revenue because the leads we generate for the businesses, like restaurants and other merchants, are new leads for them.

It’s not their existing users that are calling them directly.

If you’re generating new users and transaction opportunities from the users of these devices — like drivers of cars and viewers of TV devices — the businesses will pay us for that lead generation, and we will share that revenue with the device maker.

This means the car maker makes money, the TV maker makes money from providing a service, and most importantly the end user is happy because they have the convenience of a voice-enabled transaction.

We expect our third pillar will create a flywheel effect, because more services will want to be on our platform so they can get new leads. More products will adopt our platform because they can generate revenue while making their users happy.

And the end users, the most important part of this equation, will be happy because of the convenience of a voice-enabled transaction.”

The SoundHound AI (NASDAQ:SOUN) product is constantly being improved.

“…The current state of voice and conversational AI is that it has become really good. And in just the last six to nine months, we’ve seen an inflection point where they became so good that the technology can be better than humans. The path to mass adoption is very clear.

So they’re very good today, but they will always get better. And that’s what makes our job really exciting, because even though our technology and solutions are incredible today, our job will never end. We can make it better and better every day.”

To get the complete picture of the future for SoundHound AI, Inc. (NASDAQ:SOUN), read the complete interview with CEO Keyvan Mohajer, exclusively in the Wall Street Transcript.