Today, Houndify announced it closed $75M in funding to help build out its NLP/NLU services. They’re calling the new services Collective AI, which conjures up all sorts of thoughts on a crowd-based NLU (or reusing the classifiers developed by its users for others looking to use the service.)
Typically, closing a round at this stage would make Houndify a more difficult acquisition target for bigger companies (or, it could be used to really puff up it’s valuation over the coming year). For Houndify to become a formidable player against Amazon and Google, it needs to look for ways around these companies’ services. Hound as a voice assistant is 2–3 steps more difficult to use than Google Assistant or Siri. If they come out with their own device, they’d need to recreate all the Skills and integrations of the Echo.
Better would be for Houndify to move around the flanks. For Amazon, that’s customizability and for Google, well, that would be, at least for now, it’s friction with hardware. If it can move quickly, it can gain a strong position.