Otter.ai, AI-powered transcription software and best friend to note-takers, has secured strategic funding from NTT DOCOMO Inc, Japan’s largest mobile operator and new partner Otter. The two companies are working together to help the introduction of Otter into the Japanese market, where DOCOMO will combine Otter with its own AI-based translation software subsidiary, Mirai Translation, to provide correct English translations that will then be translated into Japanese.
The fund was made by the wholly-owned subsidiary of DOCOMO, NTT DOCOMO Investments, Inc., however, the amount was unspecified. The latest deal, though, was worth $10 million, we’re told. To date, NTT DOCOMO Ventures, Fusion Fund, GGV Capital, Draper Dragon Fund, Duke University Innovation Fund, Harris Barton Asset Management, Slow Ventures, Horizons Ventures, and others have raised $23 million in funding.
In 2018 Otter introduced its app, giving customers a way to search for voice messages as quickly as they can check their email or text now. Together with a team from Google, Twitter, Nuance and Yahoo as well as Harvard, Yale, MIT and Cambridge, Otter CEO and founder Sam Liang developed a platform expressly designed to capture communications— such as meetings, conferences, informal talks.
The product itself creates real-time automatic transcriptions, as speakers speak. The resulting transcript can be searched and identifies the various speakers and key phrases. Alongside the video, you can also upload photos.
Otter has extended the platform to millions of users since its introduction and now sells both an Otter for Teams and a business version.
The aim is to introduce the Otter business connectivity product to the Japanese market with the current NTT DOCOMO alliance, says Liang, the former Google architect who later sold his position company Alohar Mobile to Alibaba.
“DOCOMO and other major companies have large international staffs who meet with their international conference calls in English,” Liang says. “We will use Otter to take automated meeting notes and improve the effectiveness of meeting and conversation… The aim is to further facilitate contact and coordination alongside the automatic English meeting note services provided by Otter,” he says.
As a result of the new collaboration, the program for Otter’s Voice Meeting Notes is being used trial in the English language classrooms of Berlitz Corporation in Japan. Students use Otter to transcribe and study their lectures, select Text parts and continue speech playback. As well, DOCOMO, Otter.ai, and Berlitz are extending their cooperation in language education to test the usefulness of Otter in English research, the company says.