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.