Respira (t/a BeneTalk) secures £380k grant funding from InnovateUK and equity investment from Henley Business Angels

BeneTalk, a speech therapy technology company, receives investment from Henley Business Angels and Innovate UK

London, United Kingdom, 12 October 2020 – BeneTalk, a speech therapy technology company, has received investment from a member of Henley Business Angels (HBA), contributing towards a total funding round of £350,000. Commenting on the latest investment, Jordi Fernandez, CEO of BeneTalk, said,

“This latest investment shows the belief in the BeneTalk product and team, and helps us move closer to transforming the speech therapy experience for millions of people with our AI-driven speech-tracking technology.”

The investment coincides with BeneTalk receiving news from Innovate UK that its application for a grant to further develop its technology portfolio has been successful. This award, totalling £380,000, will allow the company to build on its resources and capabilities, and accelerate its technical R&D programme.

These latest investments come on top of funds obtained from backers previously, plus grants and support received from organisations including the Microsoft AI for Good Accelerator, the British Stammering Association, Innovate UK, and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).

Further contributions from investors are in the pipeline, along with a number of health technology grants and awards, all of which are helping to propel the company’s technical and clinical R&D programmes and pre-launch activities. The company is open to enquiries from investors who would like to invest in the BeneTalk vision. If you are interested and would like to join the journey, please send an email to [email protected]

Notes for editors

Up to 3% of the population stutters. This condition can have distressing symptoms that deeply affect social and professional interactions and can define the life choices of people who stutter. Even though it is not currently possible to cure stuttering once it is established in adulthood, a variety of techniques have been developed that, when mastered, help people who stutter to gain fluency levels similar to those of a non-stutterer.

For many people who stutter, the largest problem is not learning the techniques themselves, but turning these practices into habits, as this requires patience and support with ongoing practice.

Patients usually attend speech therapy once a week for one hour. This is only a very small portion of the waking time they potentially have each week to learn and practice. We believe that technology can help to increase practice times and achieve faster, longer-lasting results.

About BeneTalk the device

BeneTalk is the first wearable device which helps people who stutter to establish and maintain the fluency-enhancing techniques that are learned in the initial therapy process. This is achieved through a novel application of digital technologies that enable the world’s first out-of-the-clinic therapy, supported by real-time feedback and performance history tracking.

As a treatment centred on a wearable device, BeneTalk is emerging as a digital health solution that helps people who stutter to be in control of their own therapy. BeneTalk delivers a long-awaited solution to an old therapeutic problem, and has the potential to demonstrate significant step-changes in efficacy, speed and cost.

BeneTalk also benefits speech and language therapists by improving the effectiveness of customised teletherapy; it achieves this by providing a therapeutic tool for speech and language therapists, acting as a virtual coach for people who stutter, gathering objective data during and between therapy sessions, and acting as a scientific instrument.

Besides teletherapy, there has been no procedural change to the methods of treating people who stutter since the necessity was first acknowledged. Whilst a few technologies have been tested, none have been widely adopted. BeneTalk is based on the same evidence-based techniques used by professional speech and language therapists, enhanced by a radical paradigm shift in the delivery of speech therapy.

Through the application of new technologies such as wearables and artificial intelligence, BeneTalk has the potential to:

  • significantly reduce costs of speech therapy
  • increase the effectiveness of fluency therapy for people who stutter

This disruptive strategy will deliver a competitive advantage, enabling penetration of the currently underserved market, as well as delivering a vital solution to people who stutter with limited resources who cannot afford the cost of traditional therapies.

BeneTalk will help to unlock the vast social and professional potential of people who stutter currently constrained by their condition, who often make professional and life decisions based on their inability to speak fluently, instead of their ambition or skill. Any society where BeneTalk is commercialized will benefit from its economic and social impact, particularly the UK, where the support to people who stutter is not adequate due to a lack of provision and training of speech and language therapists.

About BeneTalk the company

We are a team of experts in engineering, product development, and speech disorders, and our vision is to build the most accessible and effective AI speech therapy with the potential to transform the lives of 10% of the population affected by speech impediments.

We are focusing on stuttering as our primary target market. Secondary markets include other speech impairments,, breathing capacity training tools, eloquence tools for public speakers, and virtual assistants for noisy environments.

For further details see https://benetalk.com or email CEO Jordi Fernandez at
[email protected]