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Verbit raises $11 million seed round

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April 2018 – Verbit secures a $11million seed funding, led by HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, Vertex Ventures and Oryzn Capital. Verbit was founded only a year ago by entrepreneurs Tom Livne (CEO), Eric Shellef (CTO) and Kobi Ben-Tzvi (VP of Engineering). The startups operates in the professional transcription market, which is a multi billion dollar market for its various connections to clients at different verticals such as: Legal, education, media resources, medical and more.

“We already generated millions of dollars in revenue, but we’ve only just begun. With this funding the company set aggressive growth targets and significantly expanded product capabilities”, Livne says. As such, Verbit plans to double the number of employees in the coming year. As Livne explains, these steps must be taken in order to realize the company’s vision: “To make the world’s verbal content accessible and searchable”.

Every day billions of new video and audio minutes are created. Traditional transcription companies rely on manual work, resulting in expensive service costs and long turnaround times. At the same time fully automatic transcription only reaches an average accuracy rate of 70%, missing customer demands for professional, quality and a 99.9% accurate transcription.

Verbit has developed a unique transcription solution which uses a combination of AI technologies to achieve accuracy and speed, at a scale large enough to make the world’s audio and video content accessible. It integrates automatic speech recognition algorithms with human augmented refinement. Any correction made by human transcribers contributes to and improves the Verbit algorithm through machine learning technologies.

“Many tech giants strive to master speech recognition and transcription and we are very happy and proud to offer the results of a head-to-head demonstration. This comparison can be located here and this is how we successfully differentiated ourselves from our competitors”, says Livne.

Because most of the transcription process takes place automatically, Verbit has a major competitive cost structure. As a direct result, the final price per customer is significantly lower than competitors, while ensuring the quality and delivery of the service at an exceptional speed. The company charges its customers according to the audio/video minutes it transcribes. Verbit has already connected with many customers including Ivy league universities and leading E-learning platforms such as Coursera, Udacity, and London Business School.

“The level of accuracy and automation Verbit has reached is way beyond anything I saw in the industry. Those capabilities will allow Verbit to build a category leading company in the fragmented transcription market,” say Jasper Masemann, from HV Holtzbrinck Ventures.

“Verbit’s offering to its customers is very simple – 100% accurate transcription service at a very competitive cost with the fastest turn around in the market,” explains Yanai Oron, GP at Vertex Ventures Investment Fund. “No wonder the company has reached such a great product market fit and was able to generate these kind of revenues in its first year of existence. The funding should allow the company to expand to a number of new verticals while scaling its business in the existing verticals.”

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5 benefits of transcription and captioning for online video

Ever sat and wondered what the advantages of transcription actually are? Well, the truth is that unless you need or use transcription and captioning,  chances are you’ve been kept in the dark.

“Transcribing is one of the fastest growing jobs in the US. Transcription work can be a good choice for people who are retired or who want to earn extra income by utilizing their free time.” – Verbit CEO

For online videos, applying AI (artificial intelligence) to human powered transcription and captioning is a major advantage for various institutions and viewers. Here are 5 reasons why we think applying AI to human powered transcriptions and captioning is beneficial.

“There are thousands of subjects, especially within education, using hundreds of thousands of terms which a human transcriber can’t possibly know of to the fullest extent. For that reason, we leverage AI to increase and expand the terminology that a human can be become aware of and to achieve maximum accuracy with speed at scale” – Verbit’s CEO, Tom Livne

1. Accessibility to Deaf or Hard of Hearing Viewers
As figures show that more than 20% of Americans have a disability requiring assisted learning, the use of transcriptions and closed captions means that this market should not and cannot be alienated.

“The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that educational institutions make available transcriptions and/or closed captioning for course materials including lecture recordings and classroom videos. In addition, FCC regulations require that captioning be at least 99% accurate to provide the full experiential auditory capacity for people who are hard-of-hearing or non-hearing.”

Powered by AI, Verbit’s proprietary technology provides a rapid first draft of any online video/audio that reaches 90% accuracy seconds after it is submitted. This allows people who are hearing impaired or sensory impaired to enjoy the information as soon as it is uploaded into Verbit’s website, for example. Verbit then makes sure, through its smart process of transcribing,  to take that accuracy to +99% for compliance reasons.

20% of Americans have a disability requiring assisted learning.

2. Appeals to a Wider Audience
With the growth of technology, there’s no denying that people are accessing information online now more than ever. For instance, online education courses have become a lot more commonplace worldwide and therefore accessing content remotely has become a big necessity.
When speaking of video transcribing and captioning in line with education, Ben Labrum, Senior Product Manager for Training On Demand at Oracle states:

“It’s really cognitive reinforcement….so when you read it and when you hear it at the same time, it helps you remember better. For example, say we record an instructor in Atlanta, Georgia, and then there’s a person in India who’s used to a British accent. The student might not follow as well without captions. Captioning and transcripts add additional value.”

Studies taken from Wisconsin University show that 50% of students used transcriptions as part of their studies.

50% of students use transcriptions as part of their studies.

3. Greater Learning Processing Power

Furthermore, it also has a impact on preschoolers who are at the early stages of perfecting their literacy. A study by Michigan State University concluded that:
“Captions are beneficial because they result in greater depth of processing by focusing attention, reinforcing the acquisition of vocabulary through multiple modalities, and allowing learners to determine meaning through the unpacking of language chunks.”
In terms of marketing, this creates a greater target audience spectrum. Think that with artificial intelligence, Verbit is able to transcribe any accent without hurting the accuracy of the tool.

4. Ability in Sound-Sensitive Environments
Closed captioning and transcripts are not just beneficial to those with a disability as it is also useful in sound sensitive environments. For example,  during a lecture or presentation where there may be background noise or you may have missed what has been said, the use of captioning and transcriptions gives students the chance to engage with the content via text, or alternatively go back and access the information later.

Not only that, through Verbit’s adaptive AI speech recognition technology, we make sure that even audio that a human can’t detect can be discerned and available for captioning.

5.Providing a Unique Experience for Customers through Higher Accuracy
As part of Verbit’s overall mission, we want to create a unique experience for customers. This is reinforced by the level of accuracy we provide through our AI leveraged transcriptions and captions (our accuracy rate is +99%). Verbit’s CEO, Tom Livnet aptly described the benefits of AI incorporated into transcription: “There are thousands of subjects , especially within education, using hundreds of thousands of terms which a human transcriber can’t possibly know of to the fullest extent. For that reason, we leverage AI to increase and expand the terminology that a human can be become aware of and to achieve maximum accuracy with speed at scale”.

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