Up Next

Verbit Raises $23 Million from Viola Ventures to Expand Automated Transcription and Captioning Solution

Back

Verbit announced yesterday that it has completed a funding round led by Viola Ventures for $23 million. The company had previously raised $11 million from HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, Vertex Ventures Israel and Oryzn Capital in March 2018. That round set the post-funding company valuation at $20 million. Given the size of the new round, it appears the valuation has risen quickly over the past ten months and the announcement says that revenue grew more than 300%. This type of growth rate is not unusual for startup in early stages because the starting revenue base is very low. The more telling number is the size of the funding round.

Vertex Ventures, HV Ventures, Oryzn Capital, Vintage Venture Partners, and Cal-Tech all participated in the latest funding round. The company says it will use the funds for solution development, marketing, and to accelerate expansion into the U.S. market. This includes a new office in New York City. A Verbit spokesperson says the company expects to grow 300% again in 2019 due to these investments. The company claims to have over 100 customers in the academic and legal verticals today.

 

AI Plus Humans to Offer Speed and Accuracy

The company offers a speech-to-text solution that transforms spoken content into text. This is applied to traditional transcription services as well as providing captioning for video content. While many companies are now focusing on transforming textual content into audio so it can be accessed through voice assistants, there is a growing market for transcription and captioning services due in part to the rapid rise of video.

Verbit uses both AI for transcription and an on-demand network of human translators to improve accuracy. A company spokesperson commented:

“Verbit’s technology combines AI with humans to transcribe voice content with 99% accuracy in nearly half the time (1 hour of video content can be transcribed in 5 minutes). They’re seeing a lot of success working with universities to level the education experience for students who have hearing impairments. They’re also working in the legal space to help address the court reporter talent shortage.”

 

Tom Livne (Verbit CEO) Interview

Voicebot caught up with Verbit CEO Tom Livne to learn more about the company and the timing of the funding round.

Voicebot: You show a focus on horizontal services such as transcription and captioning as well as two verticals in legal and academic. Will the new funding be used to deepen your focus in these areas or do you intend to use it to invest in new vertical and/or horizontal markets?

Tom Livne: Because of the high demand from academia and law, we’re looking to use this funding to help support these sectors on a larger scale. The funding will also be used to add support for our platform in other languages, invest in recruit talent for our New York office, and focus on sales, marketing, and customer success.

Voicebot: There is a lot of innovation in speech-to-text (STT) technology today to feed NLUs for voice assistants. Yet, your business model takes just the front end of that process and refines it for transcription services. Given all of the STT innovation, why do you think Verbit has grown so quickly over the past year? Was it simply an underserved market because of the rise of video and podcasting?

Livne: Virtually all industries today produce massive amounts of audio and video content. In fact, Gartner estimates this to be upwards of 70% of all organizational data. In this context, it’s clear that transcription and captioning is more critical than ever. The market itself is a traditionally manual space, so Verbit is capitalizing on the huge opportunity there for an AI solution to automate the task with greater speed and accuracy.

Voicebot: You employ a combination of AI for transcription and augment it with human editing to drive higher accuracy. Why is the human element necessary at this point?

Livne: Our voice recognition technology is about 90 percent accurate on its own, but in order to push it to 99% accuracy, we incorporate a dual review process of human transcribers to correct any mistakes. All of these edits then flow back into the model, which works to improve Verbit’s machine learning algorithms over time.

Voicebot: Facebook M famously tried to offer a combination of AI and human curation for its assistant experiment, but it ultimately didn’t work out. Why is your mixed model of AI and humans different and succeeding?

Livne: Verbit leverages an on-demand platform of thousands of highly skilled freelancers who edit the automatically transcribed files. Our combination of top artificial and human intelligence is our advantage, and we prioritize linking the two by investing in our transcriber community through dedicated support and introducing initiatives to engage them and improve their skills. This ensures that both essential components of our model are successful and produce the best results.

Up Next

Time is money: 5 NYC tech startups adding more hours to your day

Time is money — literally. With a majority of people opting for experiences over products, time has never been more valuable, and investors are taking notice.

Whether it’s in the form of a more efficient job search, an easier shopping experience or faster meal preparation, these startups are on a mission to shave hours off of confusing or monotonous tasks. Get to know these time-saving NYC tech companies that VCs are putting big money behind.

 

Wade & Wendy

Job searching is time-consuming, no matter which side of the job search you’re on. Wade & Wendy is an AI-powered conversation platform for recruiting that uses conversational AI to “make hiring more human.” On the recruiting side, chatbot Wendy manages the initial screening process and asks applicants specific questions about job experience. On the job seeker side, chatbot Wade acts as a career advisor and works with the job seeker to find job opportunities relevant to their interests and experience. The company was launched in 2015 and raised its latest $7.6 million funding round on March 5.

 

Routinely

If your excuse for missing the gym has anything to do with a lack of clean or stylish workout clothes, there’s a service that can help. Routinely not only helps you find the latest styles, but they also package it in a gym bag and send it directly to you — all within two hours. After that, you can keep the items you want and return the rest, even if they’ve been used. The company handles the cleaning process as well, making the service your “virtual locker.” Routinely raised an undisclosed seed funding in January 2019.

 

The Farmer’s Dog

As a dog parent, there’s no easy way to pick up dog food with the rest of the items on your grocery list. The Farmer’s Dog makes human-grade pet food that’s customized for your dog and delivered right to your doorstep. Founded in 2014, the company just raised a $39 million Series B round, bringing their total funding amount to $49.1 million.

 

Verbit.ai

Anyone who’s had to transcribe a video or phone call knows exactly how tedious of an assignment it can be. Verbit.ai uses a mix of AI and human intelligence to do it for you. The company offers audio transcription, captioning services and real-time speech-to-text services that have made industries like law and education much more efficient. To-date, Verbit.ai has raised a total of $34 million in funding, with its latest $23 million Series A round in January 2019.

 

Spatial

Spatial, an AR company featured on Built In NYC’s 50 Startups to Watch in 2019, helps remote workers save time commuting into the office. It gives teams the ability to collaborate in virtual reality-rendered workspaces, pushing the tech trend of augmented reality in a whole new direction. Founded in 2016, the company has $8.3 million in total funding, as well as an undisclosed seed funding round announced in January 2019.

Back To Top