Home Video Transcription AI transcription startup Verbit.ai becomes a unicorn with $157M funding round

AI transcription startup Verbit.ai becomes a unicorn with $157M funding round

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Artificial intelligence-powered transcription and captioning platform provider Verbit Software Ltd. has risen to “unicorn” status after landing a $157 million round of funding.

Sapphire Ventures led the Series D round, announced today, with participation from new investors such as Third Point, More Capital, Lion Investment Partners and ICON Fund, as well as existing investors Stripes, Vertex Ventures, HV Capital, Oryzn Capital, Viola Ventures and ClalTech. The round brings Verbit’s total amount raised to more than $250 million, and its valuation now tops $1 billion, giving it “unicorn” status.

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Verbit sells AI-powered software that’s used to transcribe audio or caption video, serving general business and enterprise use cases, as well as industries such as media production, court reporting and education. Its software can transcribe in real-time with high accuracy, making it ideal for live business presentations or classroom settings. Moreover, when customers have a little more time, Verbit claims its transcriptions and captions deliver 99% accuracy thanks to its network of more than 30,000 professional human transcribers who work quickly to iron out any mistakes its software does make.

Verbit founder and Chief Executive Tom Livne told SiliconANGLE that Verbit’s platform is tailored to various industries and use cases too, which means it can provide vertical-specific transcription and captioning services to customers that may have stricter requirements.

“It means Verbit’s customers in the legal, education, media and enterprise sectors each have access to transcripts and captions that comply with their unique, industry-specific regulations and standards,” Livne explained. “Verbit’s AI technology also detects domain-specific terms, filters out background noises and echoes and transcribes speakers regardless of accent.”

The company’s software extends to real-time translation as well, which can be useful in business settings. It also offers audio descriptions, providing concise, objective and accurate descriptions of visual images to help make video content more accessible to blind or low-vision learners and viewers.

“Verbit has forged a winning combination of AI and human intelligence,” said Sapphire Ventures President and Managing Director Jai Das.

Verbit recently acquired the live captioning firm VITAC Corp., and following that deal it believes it is the No. 1 provider of professional transcription and caption services in the U.S. It claims more than 1,500 customers, including media organizations such as CNBC LLC, Cable News Network and Fox news Channel, as well as Harvard University and Stanford University.

The company said today’s funding will be used to hep it grow into new market segments, add more staff to its teams, support its research and development efforts and prepare for a public offering.

Livne told SiliconANGLE that the company is planning an initial public offering later on down the line because it believes that the COVID-19 pandemic has jump-started what will become a much larger shift toward greater use of video and audio communication platforms.

“As consumers continue to demand more capabilities and greater convenience and accessibility, businesses will need to implement emerging technologies, like AI-driven transcription and captioning, into their solutions to stay relevant and competitive,” Livne said. “Going public will allow us to meet this rising demand, grow and scale our business more, expand into even more verticals, and continue to make strategic acquisitions and investments that will help further modernize the transcription industry.”

Constellation Research Inc. analyst Holger Mueller told SiliconANGLE that he agreed AI is rapidly transforming industries and the way people work. “The understanding of speech is one of the earliest and most mature areas of AI, and Verbit is proof of that with its transcription services,” he said. “It’s one of the winners in AI transformation and it’s good to see it getting funding for the next level of investment.”

Images: Verbit

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