March 25, 2019

CI makes initial $500K investment in VentureClash winner

HBJ Photo | Matt Pilon
HBJ Photo | Matt Pilon
Connecticut Innovations CEO Matthew McCooe congratulated VentureClash first place winners Danny Weissberg and Sara Smolley of Israeli speech recognition firm Voiceitt.

The state's venture capital arm, Connecticut Innovations (CI), has completed its initial $500,000 equity investment to the winner of last year's VentureClash pitch competition, officials said.

Quasi-public CI on Monday said it's finalized a third of the potential $1.5 million investment for Israel-based Voiceitt, which developed technology in 2012 to help people with impaired speech -- including those recovering from a stroke -- communicate with others through devices like smart speakers.

Voiceitt won the third annual competition in October, earning the highest share of a $5 million award pool.

"Voiceitt has the chance to enhance and improve the lives of those suffering from voice-altering conditions," said Alison Malloy, CI's director of investments.

The company, which had 16 employees as of late last year, was co-founded by CEO Danny Weissberg and Vice President of Strategy Sara A. Smolley,

Weissberg said the CI investment will help the company improve its core speech technology and grow its presence in Connecticut.

Voiceitt emerged as the winner in the pitch competition that featured almost 300 companies in digital health, fintech and insurtech, and was awarded first place at the Yale School of Management in New Haven.

CI is currently accepting applications for the first round of the fourth annual VentureClash competition. The application deadline is June 7.

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