Budapest based startup SignAll Inc. received one and a half million Euros from an international association of venture capitalists to finalize its software that automates the interpretation between Deaf people using American Sign Language (ASL) and the those who can hear. The startup, spun off by Dolphio Technologies, a Hungarian R&D House and ICT service provider, has held the attention of technology investors since the LT-Innovate Awards in Brussels last year. Since this year, SignAll is a separate venture that has received investment from an association of investors including Credo Ventures, Perion, and Conor Venture Capital Funds. SignAll earned one of the largest seed investments in CEE.
A significant seed investment of 1.5 million Euros was put into SignAll, syndicated by the Perion Venture Fund, Credo Venture Fund and Conor Venture Fund in order to enable SignAll to be introduced into the US accessibility market. “SignAll’s team of 20 people has already delivered working prototypes of this technology that will be able to revolutionize communication between the deaf and hearing” said Credo’s Andrej Kiska. “In comparison to similar projects, SignAll is the only one that recognizes complete sentences, not just single signs. It’s technology unites two skyrocketing sciences, computer vision and natural language processing” – Kiska added.
The success story of this Hungarian invention has gathered significant traction already. It was among the final 8 at Google’s and NASA’s Singularity University’s Global Impact Finals when it was first introduced to experts in 2014. It debuted at Pioneers Festival in Vienna and then at the Slush Festival in Helsinki, winning the audience award at last year’s CEE Lift Off. This important product received a high level of acknowledgement at the coveted LT-innovate Awards in July 2015
Ferenc Karvalits of Perion emphasizes the highly qualified standard of the team, as well as the importance of its development. “We invested in a very special project with successful developers in order to break boundaries through the invention something unique. The risk of such an undertaking is high, but shall we succeed. I firmly believe we will, we improve the lives of millions”.
“Beyond the high expected yield, it is the importance of its social impact that matters to us” – Viktor Gero of Conor Fund added. “We are convinced of the necessity of SingAll’s socially important innovation. The product will significantly improve the lives of Deaf people as it enables easier integration into society.”
According to Zsolt Robotka, Founder and CEO of SignAll, there are at least 200 different sign languages worldwide. “Our software will first be available for ASL users, and in the US first, where accessibility for the deaf is highly developed. But we will soon add further languages. For the first time in history it will enable the real time translation between different sign languages, which will broaden its usability significantly.
The seed capital accelerates the R&D development that involves a pool of highly qualified computer vision researchers and ASL experts. According to Robotka, SignAll will be introduced as the new tool to the language service market participants, the deaf communities and regulators.