PITTSBURGH – November 27, 2018 – Aspinity announced today that it has raised a $2.9M seed round to expand its team and accelerate the development of its technology that enables low power, always-on sensing functionality for the next generation of portable, battery-operated internet-of-things, consumer, industrial, and medical devices. The round brings Aspinity’s total funding to date to $3.5M. While there are numerous applications for Aspinity technology, the company is most focused on the development of its always-on listening products for applications such as hearables and smart homes, where battery-life inhibits the use of the currently available voice-first solutions.
Pittsburgh-based Birchmere Ventures led the round, with additional funding coming from Riverfront Ventures, Mountain State Capital, and other local and national investors, including the Amazon Alexa Fund. In addition, the company announced that Ned Renzi, partner at Birchmere, and Tom Beckley, Senior Vice President/GM at Cadence Design Systems Inc., will join Tom Doyle, CEO and founder of Aspinity, on the Board of Directors.
“We are excited about the Pittsburgh startup ecosystem, especially when we meet local companies like Aspinity with a strong team and a unique, market-driven technology,” said Mr. Renzi. “Aspinity’s technology is essential for the implementation of next generation, hands-free monitoring for a wide range of markets from the Internet of Things to consumer electronics to industrial and health monitoring. Aspinity is first to market with a revolutionary technology, putting them right in our sweet spot for investment – an early stage technology company with high-growth potential.”
Aspinity’s programmable analog processing chip consists of compact, ultra-low-power analog building blocks that replicate the always-on monitoring functionality traditionally performed by high-power digital processors. Conventional always-on sensing solutions digitize all sensor data for event analysis, wasting significant power by digitizing and analyzing irrelevant data. Conversely, the Aspinity chip mimics a more efficient brain architecture and analyzes the raw, unstructured analog-output data from the sensor for an event signature, only waking the system for digitization or next level functions when the event signature has been detected. For high bandwidth, random and sporadic applications such as always-on voice wake-up, the Aspinity analyze-first methodology eliminates the digitization and processing of 80% of the sound that is not voice, leading to a 10x reduction in power consumption by a voice wake-up system.
Aspinity joined the Alexa Fund portfolio following its involvement in the inaugural Alexa Accelerator, a Seattle-based program designed to support promising startups working with Alexa, and the Alexa Fund is investing in the company once again as part of this seed round.
“Voice is the most natural, intuitive way for us to interact with technology, and there’s an enormous opportunity for companies helping bring voice-first experiences to portable, low-power devices,” said Paul Bernard, Director of the Alexa Fund. “Aspinity’s technology addresses many of the challenges associated with these new form factors, and we’re thrilled to continue to support them as they refine and improve their products.”
“We are excited that our technology is attracting the support of world-class investors,” said Mr. Doyle. “Always-on voice for small, battery operated devices is projected to be an extremely high-volume and rapidly growing market segment. Our first-to-the-world technology is helping device manufactures overcome the substantial power and data hurdles that have been preventing them from integrating this functionality into new types of portable devices. We recently moved Aspinity to Pittsburgh, and we plan to use this round of funding to build out our engineering team and round out the other critical functions required to accelerate the design, development, and delivery of our first products to customers.”