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We got an exclusive look at the pitch deck AI transcription startup Verbit used to raise $157 million as it eyes a near-term IPO

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Tom Livne, Verbit CEO and founder, wants the company to become a decacorn “as soon as possible”. Verbit
An Israeli startup that uses both humans and artificial intelligence to dictate speech has raised $157 million at a unicorn valuation.

Verbit, which was founded in 2016, wants to be a leading player in what it calls a $30 billion global transcription market. The company has a network of 30,000 human transcribers who fact-check the work of its AI, machine learning, and natural language processing technology.

“We see unicorns all around us and we belong with them based on the revenue and traction that we have,” Tom Livne, the Verbit CEO and founder, told Insider. “It’s obviously a nice milestone for us but we want to be a decacorn with a billion dollars of annual revenue as soon as possible.”

The Series D funding round was led by Sapphire Ventures, which also led the startup’s last round in November 2020. New York-based Third Point, Israeli investors More Capital and Lion Investment Partners, and ICON fund also backed the round.

They joined existing investors such as Stripes, Vertex Ventures HV Capital, Oryzn Capital, Viola Ventures, and ClalTech. The Series D round bring the company’s total investment won to date to over $280 million.

Last month, Verbit acquired US captioning business VITAC which provides services to cable news networks in North America. “Acquiring VITAC is a great milestone for us because it gets us into the media and entertainment vertical which we believe is a $1 billion addressable market and they have a strong brand in this space.”

Verbit was started in response to Livne’s frustration at the low quality of transcription he received while working as a lawyer. The company will use the funding to add around 200 employees to its current 350 strong headcount. The startup is also in the midst of planning for a public listing in the future.

“If an interesting acquisition comes along we may raise again but if all goes according to plan we will go public next year,” Livne added. “We haven’t touched the Series C round so there was no need for additional capital but we made a trade off to get our valuation. We don’t want to commit to anything but want to make the company ready to list next year.”

Originally published on businessinsider.com.

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Only half of students with disabilities ask for accommodations, Verbit says

Video is the most common way higher education institutions engage students with distance-learning content, but few caption all their video content for accessibility, according a survey being released Tuesday by the transcription and captioning company Verbit.

About 14% of schools reviewed by Verbit provided captions as a default, while about 10% said they only caption lessons when a student requests it. About 76% of content is partially captioned.

But with just 52% of students interviewed saying they would ask for accommodations like captioning if they’re not automatically provided, Verbit concluded that colleges and universities may need to be more proactive in making learning materials more accessible.

“This lack of reporting and transparency is critical to consider when aiming to craft inclusive classrooms or environments, as its likely to emerge as an issue should school leaders not proactively address or offer such accommodations to the greater student population,” the report reads.

The U.S. Department of Education recommends institutions review, with their faculties, how to use built-in accessibility features like captioning or transcription on videoconferencing platforms like Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google Meet. These platforms offer built-in captioning, but federal guidance recommends reviewing any transcriptions to make sure they meet accessibility guidelines. Of the schools Verbit surveyed, about 85% plan to offer courses in online or hybrid formats in the upcoming academic year.

About half of schools record lectures and transcribe them later, while about 44% provide live captioning and transcriptions, the survey found. The report also showed that accommodations were less likely to be used in settings outside the classroom but that are still part of the college experience, like live talks.

Nearly 30% of school employees told Verbit that live captioning and other accommodations — including sign-language interpreters, audio descriptions and foreign-language translations — were offered at university events, with 12% making them available at sporting events.

Verbit recently said it plans to make an initial public offering in 2022, after acquiring rival captioning provider Vitac, the country’s largest closed-captioning provider in media and entertainment. Other companies are also looking to provide accessibility tools to higher education such as Blackboard’s “Ally,” which audits online content for accessibility issues. In a recent assessment by the company, a majority of the files checked by the software contained “severe to major accessibility issues.”

The full article can be read here.

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