The Pitch Deck Sanas Used to Raise $32 Million for Accent Translation

  • Sanas is a voice technology company that can translate accents in real time.
  • It was founded by three engineering students from Stanford who saw the problems of accent bias firsthand.
  • Now they’ve raised $32 million from Insight Partners and Google Ventures.

Sanas is a new real-time accent translation startup that can convert people’s voice to different accents while speaking.

The three founders came up with the idea for Sanas during their undergraduate studies at Stanford, when their close friend Raul had to drop out and work in a call center to support his family in Nicaragua.

While he had the most formal education, Raul underperformed at his job because he spoke with a heavy Central American accent.

Raul’s problem affected all three friends, said Sanas CEO and co-founder Maxim Serebryakov, because they were also all immigrants: Serebryakov is from Russia, while Sanas CTO Shawn Zhang is from China and CFO Andrés Soderi is from Venezuela. All three felt they suffered academic and professional setbacks because of their accents, Serebryakov told Insider.

“We wanted to create a product that empowers people to have power over their voice and choose how they communicate,” he said. “Our central model is ‘your voice, your choice.'”

The three years spent building an algorithm that could convert accents by altering the underlying phonetics in speech sound, so it could translate voices in near real time. The product then functions as a virtual microphone plug-in for phone and computer audio, so users can take calls or


meetings while Sanas runs in the background and their voice comes through the call with no discernible accent.

Sanas’ technology attracted investors at Insight Partners and Google Ventures, especially those who were immigrants themselves, Serebryakov said. “They get the value proposition,” he said.

Insight Partners ended up leading Sanas’ $32 million Series A, with participation from Google Ventures, Assurant Ventures and

angel investor

Gokul Rajaram. Existing investors Human Capital, General Catalyst, Quiet Capital and DN Capital also participated in the round.

While Sanas is primarily used in call centers today, the team plans to use the new capital to expand into all forms of business communication, including

text to talk

for transcripts.

“If you use Sanas as a front-end in text-to-speech engines, you actually get 20.5% better transcription accuracy,” Serebryakov noted.

Here’s the 15-slide pitch deck Sanas used to raise $32 million: