Transcription firm Verbit eyes new languages with $31M funding round

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AI-powered transcription company Verbit on Wednesday announced it’s received a $31 million round of Series B funding that will allow it to expand its offerings.

The company’s technology, which uses machine learning to recognize human speech and transcribe it in real time or from a media source, is used by more than 150 organizations, including legal groups, media companies and higher education institutions such as Harvard and Stanford, according to the company. This new funding, the company’s executives told EdScoop, will allow them to offer their products to other industries, and also add new languages while improving the technology. 

Verbit’s Scott Ready said that while speech-recognition and transcription technology is traditionally considered within education to be of primary use for students who are hard of hearing or deaf, including transcriptions of live presentations, or of audio and video content, can benefit all students.

“Research has proven that captioning and transcription benefits all students,” Ready said. “So when you are looking at how technology can come in to reduce costs and increase accuracy, then you’re looking at changing captioning and transcription from an accommodation feature to a learning feature.”

Transcription is a tedious and resource-intensive process, which has made it a prime target for software developers in recent years. Verbit, which is based in Tel Aviv, Israel, is joined in the market by a host of other companies using speech recognition technology, such as Amira Learning, Soapbox Labs and Bamboo Learning, all of which raised venture funding last year.

“The technology allows us to provide a service that people are in need [of], and there are not enough people that are available to provide that service,” said Verbit executive Jacques Botbol. “And the technology is an enabler of that.”

Verbit’s Series B funding round was led by the New York-based growth equity firm Stripes, adding to the company’s existing investors: Viola Ventures, Vertex Ventures, HV Ventures, Oryzn Capital and ClalTech. The company’s total funding is now $65 million after a $23 million Series A round in January 2019.

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