Cambridge Audio Analytic start-up acquired by Facebook owner Meta

The company’s website claims its technology can give machines “the most precise, rugged and compact hearing on the planet.”

Uses could include smart home devices that can detect a break-in or an alarm going off, or smartphones that can adapt to noisy environments.

Audio Analytic previously raised $25 million from investors including National Grid Partners, IQ Capital and Cambridge Innovation Capital. It employed around 50 people, according to its latest accounts. Its technology has been included in gadgets such as British Gas’ Hive range of smart homes and it has worked with chip company Qualcomm to develop technology for smartphones.

Several Cambridge audio start-ups have been taken over by Big Tech companies in recent years. In 2012, Amazon acquired Evi, a startup that developed voice assistant technology built into Amazon’s Alexa. Apple has acquired voice recognition company VocalIQ, as well as imaging startup Spectral Edge.

The Audio Analytic takeover comes weeks after the tech giant blocked a takeover in a landmark intervention by Britain’s competition watchdog.

Last month, the UK Competition and Markets Authority blocked Meta’s acquisition of file-sharing startup Giphy, a $315 million deal. It was the first time the CMA had forced a major tech company to unwind a takeover.

In the United States, regulators are also seeking to block Meta’s takeover of virtual reality app company Within.

A Meta spokesperson said, “We are delighted to have members of the Audio Analytic team join Meta Reality Labs Research. The partnership with Audio Analytic will help our research team better understand intelligent sound recognition.

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