Apple has reportedly acquired AI-based voice startup PullString, aka ToyTalk, for a deal that is speculated to be worth around $30 million. There’s also around $10 million in potential earn-outs for management. The development was first reported by Axios.
PullString is a startup
The firm was founded in 2011 by former Pixar executives and the company has so far raised around $44 million. The startup makes voice experience design tools, artificial intelligence to power those experiences, and toys like talking Barbie and Thomas The Tank Engine toys in partnership with Mattel.
Google and Amazon have built platforms to distribute Skills from tons of voice app makers, including storytelling, quizzes, and other games for kids — something which Apple lacks. If Apple wants to take a real shot at becoming the center of the connected living room with Siri and HomePod, it needs to play nice with the children who spend their time there.
With PullString in its kitty, the company now has a chance to jumpstart Apple’s in-house catalog of speech-activated toys for kids as well as beef up its tools for voice developers to offer new solutions. Given
PullString has raised funding from a bunch of investors, including Khosla Ventures, CRV, Greylock, First Round, and True Ventures. The latest
He has been a technology writer since more than five years. At The Tech Portal, he covers gadgets, startups and the good and bad of tech.