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AI Legal Transcription Provider Verbit Raises $23 Million

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Artificial intelligence-powered transcribing and captioning software company Verbit announced it has raised $23 million, with plans to expand its real-time transcription services for its legal industry clients.

The Series A round was led by Viola Ventures with Verbit’s co-founders remaining as the main shareholders, said Verbit co-founder Tom Livne. Vertex Ventures, HV Ventures, Oryzn Capital, Vintage Venture Partners and Clal Tech also participated in the round.

This latest investment brings Verbit’s total funds raised to $34 million, following an earlier $11 million seed round, according to a press release from the company.

In an interview, Livne said the investment would be used to expand the company’s workforce and capabilities. “[It] allow us to grow even faster than we started, to keep developing more products and add more people.”

The company also plans to use its new investment to create cheaper and less human-intensive closed captioning.

The two-year-old company allows users to have video or audio files transcribed or captioned with AI and double-checked by a network of freelancers. Livne said the freelancers are the last line of defense to ensure accuracy, and the freelancers’ corrections improve the AI through the software’s machine learning capabilities.

The final transcript or caption can be produced in real-time and offered in several formats, including PDFs and Word documents.

Verbit can also differentiate between multiple voices and differing accents and languages in a recording. Along with supporting English and Spanish, it can also transcribe the specialized—and a bit maddening—language of legalese.

Once it signs up a legal customer, Verbit asks them their needs and specific legal terms they use, Livne explained. Verbit can add the terms in the language module created specifically for the customer, he added.

While courtroom transcribers aren’t new to the legal industry, Livne believes many aren’t deploying advanced technology for such matters. Other AI-powered transcribers include Rev.com and 3Play Media. Livine said his company differentiates itself by its customization and price point.

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Automated Transcription Provider Verbit Raises USD 23m in Series A

Tel Aviv-based transcription platform Verbit raised USD 23m in a Series A round led by Viola Ventures toward the end of January 2019. HV Ventures, Oryzn Capital, Vintage Venture Partners, and ClalTech also participated in the round, which brings Verbit’s total funding raised to USD 34m.

Verbit offers video and audio transcription services primarily through AI-powered automated speech-to-text technology refined through a network of human transcribers and post-editors.

In an article on the funding round, company CEO Tom Livne claimed the platform can transcribe an hour of audio in five minutes. He also said the vast amounts of transcribed text can be analyzed for patterns and insights through natural language processing (NLP) technology, noting that Verbit’s model has attracted “more than 100 customers in legal and higher education.”

Slator reached out to Livne for more information on the company and its latest funding round.

Court Reporter Shortage

Livne declined to comment on the company’s valuation but shared a few other interesting details including some of the most common client use cases.

In the education sector, Livne said Verbit fulfills the requirement for higher education institutions to provide captioned videos and full lecture transcripts for deaf or hearing-impaired students. He said some education sector clients include the London Business School, Stanford, Harvard, FIT, Brigham Young University-Idaho, and the University of California, Santa Barbara, as well as online course providers Coursera and Udacity.

“In the legal industry, Verbit’s solution is able to help tackle the court reporter shortage and provide companies with the technology to make reporters more efficient to cover all jobs,” Livne said.

Livne appears to have come full circle from his original inspiration for the company. “Before I found myself in the world of tech startups, I began my career in law, where transcripts are essential. I was often unsatisfied with the slow turnaround time for a finished transcript,” Livne said, adding, “Drawing on my prior experience with legal transcription, I felt that this was an important need in the market and that a viable solution could be found with the right technology.”

In the same article on the latest funding round, Livne explained that the money will go into accelerating expansion in the US as well as developing new capabilities for the platform.

For now, Verbit is mostly confined to the US as its key geographic market and region with the most clients. The platform currently supports English and Spanish, Livne said, adding that they intend to “expand to support other languages according to the market demand.”

Transcription vis-à-vis Translation

Transcription shares a number of similarities to translation in terms of the supply chain and, now, the underlying NLP technology. In fact, companies like France-based Ubiqus employ tech stacks that enable them to develop their automatic transcription and translation solutions at the same time.

If Slator’s own experience with a different AI-supported transcription platform is any indication, the technology has developed far enough to be quite helpful for very clear audio files; although it still struggles with background noise, accents, and differentiating speakers. This parallels developments in neural machine translation: now more useful than ever albeit with limitations.

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