Australian-based social commerce firm Crowd Media (ASX: CM8) has signed a strategic agreement with British artificial intelligence company Aflorithmic Labs Ltd to facilitate Crowd’s much anticipated move into the conversational commerce space.
Under the terms of the agreement, Aflorithmic will create a voice cloning and core AI engine to drive Crowd’s “talking head” platform for use across multiple sectors including influencer marketing and ecommerce.
Aflorithmic will integrate its own cloning voice technology and video from one of Crowd’s other joint venture partners, with Crowd’s AI-driven Q&A Chatbot technology which is reported to have processed more than 180 million questions and answers since its November launch.
The new partnership will give Crowd immediate access to Aflorithmic’s multi-disciplined research and development team, best-in-class synthetic voice technology, and project management and leadership expertise.
In return, Crowd will invest approximately $1.77 million in Aflorithmic’s current fundraising round for a 10% share of the company, structured as approximately $1.32 million in cash and the remainder in Crowd shares based on a 10-day volume weighted average price.
Aflorithmic has developed an API-first (application programming interface) Audio-as-a-Service platform to power the next generation of audio creation by democratising traditional production processes requiring significant time, knowledge and financial input.
Talking head platform
Crowd chief executive officer Domenic Carosa said the talking head platform would leverage the latest developments in AI voice cloning and audio production automation.
“Conversational commerce is the future of ecommerce and we are excited to have successfully executed this initiative,” he said.
“We believe we can translate the most recent advances in AI research into commercial innovations which will completely reshape the way consumers engage in ecommerce and position Crowd right at the front of the race.”
Aflorithmic has committed to the establishment of a dedicated Conversational Commerce Innovation team which will steer the project towards commercialisation within two years.
Crowd revealed Mr Carosa had tendered his resignation as chief executive officer from the company he co-founded in 2009 to spend more time with C$83 million market cap Toronto stock listed cryptocurrency business Banxa Holdings.
Mr Carosa will transition to a non-executive director role and will consult on projects relating to Crowd’s Horizon 2 (fintech and Insuretech) and Horizon 3 (talking head) objectives.
He will retain his Crowd shareholding, which amounts to approximately 6% of the company.
Chairman Steven Schapera stated “Domenic has demonstrated honesty, integrity, and true grit during his time at Crowd. Under his leadership he now hands over a stable ship, a stronger balance sheet.”
“This has been a very hard decision after so many years as chief executive officer, but the time feels right for me to hand over the role to someone else so I can focus on my fintech opportunity,” Mr Carosa explained.
“My interests are [still] aligned with Crowd via my shareholding and directorship, I have confidence in Steven our chairman and the team and will continue to assist in any way I can.”
Mr Carosa’s resignation will take effect from end March.
Meanwhile, Mr Schapera and director Robert Quandt will move into interim executive roles while the company seeks to appoint a replacement.