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iSpeech Team

Mission: Speech-Enable the Web and the World

Chief Executive Officer - Heath Ahrens

As founder and CEO of iSpeech, Heath implemented the first cloud-based text to speech, and has made the technology affordable and available to millions of consumers and developers. Heath envisioned the first big-data-driven, cloud-based text to speech engine years ahead of its time. Before bandwidth was inexpensive and readily available on mobile devices, when people were still using dial-up, and before cloud was called SaaS, or even ASP, Heath saw the limitations of traditional embedded text to speech synthesis and how to overcome them. The idea was revolutionary - forget embedded technology; everything would eventually be connected via Internet, so it's better to focus on reinventing text to speech with human-quality than to fumble improving old technology.

Heath's fascination with speech, language and sound began during his 3 years on stage at the Metropolitan Opera as a boy. The fundamentals of prosody, timbre and cadence interested and inspired him. Around the same time, Heath taught himself programming in Basic on his then state of the art Apple IIGS. Thus began the perfect storm. During his academic career, Heath struggled with traditional learning methods and sought out books on tape which allowed him to easily absorb information. It wasn't long before he was proofreading his papers using a makeshift text to speech, ripped out of an IVR system. His first development experience with text to speech (TTS) was in implementing IVR systems as early as 1999. It was not until 2006 that Heath would revisit TTS and begin developing iSpeech.

Since founding iSpeech, Heath has accomplished many industry firsts and notable achievements. iSpeech platform usage, both text to speech and speech recognition, is at the billions of transactions level. iSpeech is now a player in big-data with billions of data rows that are valuable for understanding language and creating statistical models of how people speak. Heath pioneered the most popular app to stop distracted driving,®, an award winning mobile app, and the most downloaded distracted driving app (over 20 million downloads). In 2010, Heath was named to NJBIZ's "40 under 40". He has been the keynote speaker and has spoken about speech technology, bootstrapping and distracted driving at conferences including SpeechTEK , CTIA, Mobile Voice Conference, TEDx and NJTC 2011 Regional Commercialization Conference and remains active in the speech tech community.

Heath Ahrens - iSpeech CEO

SVP, Product - Andrew Breen

Andrew Breen has 20 years experience developing and growing products and services for companies of all sizes in the mobile, enterprise, e-commerce, media and education sectors. His repeated success as an entrepreneur, technologist, product manager, and business development leader is the result of a unique combination of deep technical knowledge, broad interdisciplinary skills, team leadership, and negotiation capabilities. He can work strategically and get in-depth whether conversing with a CEO/Board Member or an engineer. He is recognized for contributions that break through obstacles, create significant consumer value, and drive incremental revenue.

Andrew has driven the formation and growth of several businesses through successful launch, expansion and exits including ThinAirApps (sold to Palm), Interactive Imaginations (sold to form 24/7 Media), EarthWeb (sold to become, Medialets (leader in mobile advertising) and Voxy (2013 $9m investment by Pearson) as head of product development. In addition, as Director of Palm’s Services Product Group, he led the formation and strategic direction of Palm’s new wireless data services business. This included responsibility for product marketing and development, sales and market strategy, and infrastructure build out. The business grew from concept to one of the top three initiatives at Palm within one year. In 2007, he was the key industry advisor to Harbinger Capital on their $100m investment in Openwave (OPWV) where he engaged the Board and management to reduce product lines, sell non-core businesses, restructure costs, and return over $200m to shareholders.

Andrew Breen - SVP, Product

Chief Architect - Florencio Marin

Florencio has been with iSpeech since the beginning. Although he holds the position of Chief Architect, he is greatly involved in all technical aspects of iSpeech. Florencio led the development of iSpeech's flagship, award winning app,®, having designed the entire infrastructure behind it. He continues to hold responsibility for iSpeech's cloud infrastructure, and with 100% uptime to date, he deserves a special title. There are junior developers, senior developers, master coders, etc. -- let's just call Florencio godly.

A former "hacker" and veteran techie, Florencio has over 15 years of software experience. His background is mainly as a software architect, programmer, database consultant and unix and windows expert. He can always look at any code and find many ways to optimize performance in no time. Developers are getting schooled by him every day -- every line of code he architects or writes is right the first time, and easily understood by his peers.

Today, Florencio is a key player in iSpeech's constantly improving services. He is responsible for designing and overseeing implementation of iSpeech's end-to-end integrated systems. He also delivers architectural initiatives that improve efficiency in-line with iSpeech's business strategy. To date, his contribution to iSpeech has been nothing short of amazing. Florencio is a true innovator at iSpeech.

Florencio Marin - iSpeech Chief Architect

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