NeuralSpace is focussing on the Middle East’s emerging NLP landscape
Launched in 2021, NeuralSpace is a B2B software as a service (SaaS) platform. It offers a no-code web interface and a suite of APIs for text and voice language AI tasks. It specialises in code-mix languages.
Globally, the natural language processing (NLP) market was estimated to be worth $15.7 billion in 2022, according to MarketsandMarkets. It is expected to reach $49.4 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 25.7%, between 2022 and 27.
This significant increase is attributable to the growth in artificial intelligence (AI) across the globe. And the Middle East—especially the GCC—is catching up, sooner than ever.
AI is expected to contribute to 13.6% of the UAE’s GDP, and 12.4% of Saudi Arabia’s GDP by 2030, as per PwC.
London-based B2B software as a service (SaaS) platformis aiming to tap into this landscape. The startup offers a no-code web interface and a suite of APIs (application programming interface) for text and voice language AI tasks.
Founders Felix Laumann and Ayushman Dash tell YourStory Gulf Edition that their target markets are the Middle East and India. They aim to penetrate these markets via code-mixed solutions for locally spoken languages, such as Emirati, Saudi, or Kuwaiti Arabic. Code mixing involves the mixing of two or more languages.
NeuralSpace offers solutions such as language understanding, speech-to-text technology, text-to-speech technology, sentiment analysis, translation, transliteration, entity recognition, and optical character recognition.
The startup’s solutions range from speech-related services to video localisation and can help with tasks such as generating call and video transcriptions, to translating subtitles for videos, and so on.
Focus on the Middle East
The idea to establish a business in the Middle Eastern market goes back to 2019 when the company was in the ideation stage.
“As a part of our initial market research, we reached out to conversational AI companies, banks, insurance firms, law firms, etc., in our target markets including Scandinavia, India, and the Middle East. In the Middle East specifically, there was a lot of recall,” Ayushman says.
“The Middle East, especially the UAE and Saudi Arabia, are rapidly growing economies with a population that appreciates technology and wants to use it in the local Arabic dialect. Given our focus, it was a no-brainer to expand in the region,” adds Felix.
Currently, NeuralSpace has two clients in the Middle East and five global clients. In the region, it competes with companies such as Mozn AI and Intella World.
Globally its competitors include the likes of Dialogflow, IBM, OpenAI, and Co:here.
NeuralSpace’s offerings, and especially how it is delivered to the clients, give it an edge, according to its co-founder.
“Usually, AI models are trained to understand only one language. But our specialty is code-mix languages. We can function even when people speak in multiple languages together, which is usually the case,” Ayushman highlights.
“We get documents with Arabic and English written at the same time. For speech as well, we get requests saying our users speak French and Arabic in the same sentence, and that is not a problem for us,” he adds.
The team provides on-prem solutions. “A lot of RFPs (request for proposal) for large companies, especially for large ticket size companies, expect you to deploy everything in their private cloud, or on premise infrastructure. Many of our competitors cannot do it because they do not have the services built in in-house,” says Ayushman.
The pricing structure of the company stands out as well. “As a new service, we provide competitive pricing in these regions. Larger companies can’t have a small ticket size, and such opportunities can be easily captured,” says Ayushman.
Understanding the market comes in handy, the founders added.
“Often, the kind of pricing companies quote is US-based pricing or European pricing, where they quote an amount such as $1.5 million per solution for three years, which is a huge amount for companies in these regions,” Ayushman explains.
NeuralSpace was born out of the duo’s interest in NLP and AI. They met abroad while completing their master’s in different universities.
“We were interested in AI and deep learning. I was working mainly in NLP and Felix’s work was mostly in mathematics and statistics. He works on functional data. We wanted to explore the real problems that we could solve using NLP,” Ayushman recalls.
Felix was completing MSc in Computer Engineering from Technical University of Denmark, and Ayushman was pursuing post-graduation in AI from RPTU Kaiserslautern-Landau, Germany.
“We realised that a lot of deep learning is not applied in low resource languages for which data is scarce on the internet,” Ayushman adds.
They launched NeuralSpace in 2021, and two years later, the team consists of 24 people. Their offerings—built through in-house research and proprietary technology—work in over 100 languages.
Revenue and the road ahead
Felix states that the company follows a usage-based per API call revenue model. The team is also in the process of deploying unlimited licensing, which is unlimited in terms of usage and not time.
Its ticket size ranges between $30-40,000 and $110-120,000 annual recurring, depending on the opportunity size, the company size, and the provided service.
The startup has raised $3 million in seed investment that it closed in two parts, in January and in September 2022.
Currently, techies Felix and Ayushman want to get a firm grasp on running the business, leveraging the technology that they have created so far.
They are also working on strengthening three major categories including call analytics, intelligent document processing (IDP), and multimedia localisation.
The Middle East and India continue to be their primary focus. So far, they have noted that call analytics and IDP have garnered good traction in the Middle East.
To tap into the benefits of having a local representative in the region, the startup is also looking at opening an office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
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Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti