Hashed Leads $6.5M Round for LOVO’s AI-Backed Voice NFTs

The company wants its synthetic speech tools to be used in chat apps or as in-game assets.

AccessTimeIconApr 7, 2022 at 1:01 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 7, 2022 at 2:13 p.m. UTC

Brandy covers crypto-related venture capital deals for CoinDesk.

One company is pivoting from its Web 2 roots in call centers and corporate training videos to Web 3 and the metaverse.

LOVO, creator of voice non-fungible tokens (NFTs) derived from artificial intelligence, has closed a $2 million extension led by crypto venture firm Hashed. The capital brought the total pre-Series A funding round up to $6.5 million.

“With this funding, we want to extend the voice-first universe and essentially become the voice of Web 3,” LOVO CEO Charlie Choi said in an interview with CoinDesk.

The new round also involved PKO Investments, a crypto investment syndicate that brought a group of angel investors, including Yat Siu, founder of Hong Kong-based online game and venture capital company Animoca Brands, and Matt Finick, the former chief financial officer of online gaming platform Roblox and Marvel Studios.

“We believe that LOVO will collaborate with many blockchain gaming and metaverse projects by introducing voice NFTs to their communities for personalizing their identities in the virtual world in a more advanced way,” Simon Kim, Hashed CEO and managing partner, told CoinDesk in a statement. “TTS (text-to-speech) technology will open up a new era for metaverse projects with real-time translation, active [non-playable character] interaction and exclusive user experiences by communicating with other users and influencers.”

In January, LOVO launched and quickly sold out a collection of 8,888 Voiceverse NFTs. Each NFT contained a unique voice created from a seed of 100 real recordings licensed from voice actors, who continue to receive royalties each time an NFT is sold. The AI voice model in the NFT can be used to produce any type of speech content or for real-time communication in chat applications like Discord.

Choi, the LOVO CEO, said he views voice NFTs as an in-game item, similar to how characters can change the clothing of their avatar now. While voice changers have existed in gaming circles for years, LOVO offers a more human-sounding, unique alternative.

“We want to be ahead of the curve,” Choi explained. “I think we are a little bit early in terms of market readiness, but we want to partner with as many of these communities as possible, because our goal is to provide billions of voices if there are billions of virtual identities that are being built.”

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Brandy covers crypto-related venture capital deals for CoinDesk.

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Brandy covers crypto-related venture capital deals for CoinDesk.

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