SoundHound AI’s Market Potential: Opportunities and Challenges Ahead

SoundHound AI, Inc. (SOUN) is a leading global company specializing in conversational intelligence. The company provides advanced voice Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions that enable businesses to offer exceptional conversational experiences to their customers.

SOUN’s technology, developed in-house, delivers unparalleled speed and accuracy across multiple languages. These solutions cater to various industries, including automotive, TV, IoT, and customer service.

With only a market cap of roughly $1.47 billion, the sound recognition and voice assistant technology company has garnered solid attention from investors lately. The company’s shares have climbed a whopping 169.5% over the past three months and 125% year-to-date.

But why?

In February, chip giant and a key beneficiary of the AI boom, NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA), made its inaugural 13-F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), unveiling new holdings in five small AI companies. Among these five companies, NVDA’s stake in SOUN, as of December 31, 2023, was valued at approximately $3.67 million.

Despite being ranked fourth among the five companies in terms of investment, SOUN experienced the most significant spike in its shares as a result of this news. However, this is not the first time SOUN has received investments from NVDA.

In 2017, NVDA participated in a $75 million venture round investment in SOUN. Moreover, SOUN entered the public market through a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) in 2022, with NVDA acknowledged in its presentation as a strategic investor.

Beyond investments, the chip maker also engaged in strategic partnerships with SOUN. Last month, SOUN announced a groundbreaking in-vehicle voice assistant powered by a large language model (LLM) on the NVIDIA DRIVE platform.

This innovative technology operates entirely offline, expanding generative AI's reach beyond cloud connectivity. The collaboration between SOUN and NVDA aims to deploy generative AI in more places and situations. NVIDIA DRIVE enables SOUN’s Chat AI to offer responses without connectivity, enhancing in-car voice experiences.

Rishi Dhall, NVDA’s Vice President of Automotive, emphasized the collaboration with innovative partners like SOUN to integrate generative AI and accelerated computing into vehicles, enhancing the customer experience and bolstering safety on the road.

The in-vehicle voice interface developed by SOUN, powered by NVIDIA DRIVE, promises to deliver rapid and precise information to drivers, even in offline scenarios.

Meanwhile, despite garnering significant attention from investors, the company's financial performance is not meeting expectations. In its recent quarterly results, the company reported a significant 80% year-over-year jump in revenue, reaching $17.15 million.

However, despite this massive jump, the company's top-line figure fell short of analysts' estimates of $17.75 million for the same quarter. The company remained unprofitable in the fourth quarter, reporting a loss of $0.07 per share.

While its bottom line saw a slight improvement from the loss per share of $0.15 in the prior-year quarter, it remained higher than Wall Street’s estimate of $0.06 loss per share. Also, it reported an adjusted EBITDA loss of $3.68 million during the same quarter.

Looking ahead, management anticipates SOUN’s fiscal year 2024 to fall within the range of $63 million to $77 million, with a midpoint target set at $70 million, which is roughly 53% higher than the $45.87 million revenue generated in the fiscal year 2023. Moreover, for the fiscal year 2025, management projects revenue to surpass $100 million and finally achieve a positive adjusted EBITDA.

Bottom Line

Apart from the company’s less-than-stellar fourth-quarter performance, SOUN encountered a setback earlier this week after announcing a $150 million stock sale. The initial $55 million raised is intended for general corporate purposes and working capital, potentially including acquisitions. Any funds exceeding $55 million will be used to repay debt.

While investors may find this news alarming, given the company's substantial losses, it's crucial to recognize that SOUN is currently in a growth phase. It's actively pursuing significant acquisition initiatives and expanding its AI solutions across various industries.

For instance, in 2023, the company entered full production for its integrated generative AI voice assistant with automaker Stellantis' DS Automobiles, set to be deployed across all models in 13 languages across 18 countries. Additionally, SOUN introduced its Chat AI pilots in Europe with three automotive brands, Peugeot, Opel, and Vauxhall.

Furthermore, the company made waves in the restaurant industry in 2023, with over 100 customers adopting its AI solutions. Given the company’s strategic expansion efforts across several industries, SOUN’s financial standing could witness major improvements in the forthcoming years.

While the immediate impact of SOUN's financial performance and stock sale may raise concerns, the company's strategic initiatives and partnerships suggest that it is well-positioned for long-term growth and success in this rapidly evolving AI landscape.

Adding to the optimism is, of course, NVDA’s stakes in SOUN, signaling the chip giant’s confidence in the company's technology and potential for growth. To that end, it could be wise for investors to scoop up SOUN’s shares for potential gains.