Summer has always been a time for coming together. Families take holidays, friends gather at weddings and parties, sometimes seeing people for the first time in years. In the world of business, there’s nothing like the sun coming out in force to get your colleagues enjoying each other’s company. With that in mind, July saw our first full company gathering ‘Summer Event’ since before the pandemic. After months of COVID-induced separation, it felt more essential than ever to gather the team as one.
The first thing that struck me when I walked out onto the stage in Cambridge to address the company, was just how far Speechmatics has come in such a short space of time. Our staff was in double digits the last time we gathered. Now, we currently employ 164 people. To get to talk about the company and its progress in front of every one of those smiling faces was quite a moment.
And there really was plenty to be excited about. Our latest round of testing once again saw us beat our competitors across the board in terms of accuracy. We’ve been adding fantastic new features to our already feature-packed Autonomous Speech Recognition (ASR), including our new Financial Language Pack and Entity Formatting, helping the financial sector and others improve their offerings.
Arguably our biggest accomplishment has been our recent headline-making investment. Having raised our Series B funding only weeks before, it certainly put a spring in everyone’s step. With $62m raised by Susquehanna Growth Equity (with participation from existing investors AlbionVC and IQ Capital) the Summer Event was the perfect place to present our plan of how we’ll further our vision to be a world-leading speech platform.
After the celebration of where we’ve been and where we’re heading (including handing out some much-deserved company awards) the rest of the Summer Event was about letting our hair down with team games, drinks, and good food. You can never fully remove the competitive spirit from a group of super-talented individuals, so crowning champions certainly came with mixed emotions(!) but by the evening everyone was united in one thing – kicking back and enjoying each other’s company.
Our international readers will have to forgive me for the next bit of soccer-heavy talk, but as a UK-based company I can’t talk about the subject of togetherness and success without mentioning and celebrating the excellent victory at this year’s football tournament by the England National Team. The Lionesses – led by manager Sarina Wiegman – showed exactly what togetherness can bring you. In the celebrations that followed, it was evident just how close the group of players were. What they managed to achieve will hopefully have a lasting impact on not just the game itself, but parts of society too.
The victory reminded me of a recent interview I gave to Management Today in which I touched on bringing your team together and having a human-centered leadership style. Something I believe is best served by being calm under pressure and offering an authentic outlook to your own personal values. I have remained steadfast and committed to being the best version of myself. It’s served me well.
As the summer draws to a close, let’s not let the weather dictate how and when we enjoy each other’s company. Through that togetherness, I believe we’ll find happiness, inspiration, and success.
Katy Wigdahl, CEO, Speechmatics
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