Tuesday, July 3, 2007

What's Attracting Investment Money

Spoken Email

A start-up called Jott Networks Inc. is on a mission to accurately transcribe voice messages into email. But instead of software, it's using humans to do the transcription. Jott's service lets users record a message on the phone to be sent by email. The voice message is sent to an office in India where it is transcribed by Jott employees. "We looked into using voice-recognition software that would transcribe the messages, but given the diversity of accents and vocabulary in the U.S., we found that was something the technology was just not ready for," says John Pollard, chief executive of Seattle-based Jott. ($5.4 million)

Here's a look at some other recent deals reported by Dow Jones VentureWire.

• IceBreaker Inc. raised $7.2 million in Series A funding led by Frazier Technology Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners to back a mobile application that lets users view each other's profiles and exchange text messages without disclosing personal contact information.

• Gizmoz Inc. attracted $6.3 million in Series A financing led by Benchmark Capital for a free online service where users can create lifelike, three-dimensional online characters based on uploaded photos.

• Storewiz Inc., which sells an appliance that compresses data in real time before it is sent to storage devices, received $9 million in Series B funding led by Sequoia Capital.

• ShotSpotter Inc., whose sensor systems use acoustical analysis for law enforcement to identify when and where a gunshot occurred, took in $12 million in Series C financing led by Levensohn Venture Partners.