The fast-rising artificial intelligence-powered transcription program Verbit has received a $31 million venture capital boost, the company announced Wednesday, bringing its total investments to $65 million since the startup launched in 2017.
The Series B funding round was led by the private equity firm Stripes. Previous investors such as Viola Ventures, HV Ventures, Oryzn Capital, Vertex Ventures, and Claltech also participated in the round.
More than 150 customers in legal services and higher education now use Verbit, including court reporting services and universities such as Harvard and Stanford, the company’s co-founder and CEO Tom Livne told Bloomberg Law.
The new funding round “is a great vote of confidence in what we’re building here at Verbit,” said Livne.
Verbit, an Israeli-founded startup that opened an office in New York last year, will use the investment to accelerate its already fast growth, including by continuing to innovate its speech recognition technology, said Livne.
Though the program is now about 90% accurate, he said, it can and will push closer to 100%—in large part through the corrections and other feedback provided from Verbit’s stable of 15,000 freelancers in more than 30 countries. They listen or watch audio and video files and compare them with Verbit’s AI-enabled transcriptions, for example, double-checking for accuracy.
The need for speedier court reporter transcriptions—as well as an ongoing shortage of about 5,000 court reporters in the United States—has provided an opening for Verbit.
The company has grown quickly—including more than tripling its revenue in the past year, Livne said—though he declined to say what the company earned in 2019. Verbit employs about 100 people, not to mention its crew of freelancers. He said he expects the staff of 11 in New York to triple in 2020.
Livne said his team made a strategic decision to sell primarily to court reporting companies instead of law firms because firms often contract with court reporting services anyway to transcribe depositions, for example.
Universities are using Verbit in part by having the company transcribe lectures for hearing-impaired students, in order to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), he said.
Verbit aims to become a $100 million company in four years’ time, said Livne. A number of businesses could use its services, he said, from finance and insurance corporations to media. It’s now a matter of determining which field, or fields, to pursue next
“We are thrilled to partner with Tom and the rest of the Verbit team on their mission to build the leading AI-powered transcription and captioning platform,” Saagar Kulkarni, a Stripes partner who will join Verbit’s board, said in a statement. “We are big believers in the power of AI to fundamentally change business models and provide critical services better, faster, and more affordably.”