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

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

TTS Lead - Sathish Pammi, Ph.D.

Dr. Sathish Pammi is the Text to Speech Lead at iSpeech Inc. Before joining iSpeech, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Institute for Intelligent Systems and Robotics (ISIR) and TELECOM ParisTech from February 2012 to June 2013. He received his PhD from Computer Science Department at Saarland University (Germany) in January 2012 for his research on emotionally-colored interactive speech synthesis systems. He worked as a researcher at German Researcher Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI GmbH) between 2007 and 2011. During the past six years, and he participated in several European research projects such as ILHAIRE, SEMAINE, and ALIZ-E; and national projects like AVATAR 1.1 and IDEAS4Games. He is an author of more than 30 international research publications. He is one of the core developers of open source MARY Text-To-Speech (TTS) framework. Development of interactive context-aware TTS systems that are equipped with emotional and social skills is the key interest of him. His interests also include cognitive systems, multimodal interaction, and machine learning algorithms.

Sathish Pammi, Ph.D. - TTS Lead