Chalk up another point for the growth of apps coming out of Israel that are focused on consumers, but draw on the country’s better-known heritage for producing big data and enterprise startups. Wibbitz, a platform that draws on natural language technology, artificial intelligence and some clever algorithms to automatically translate texts into videos, is today launching a consumer-focused app.
The startup, whose lead backer is Horizons Ventures — the same VC that backed Google-acquired Waze, as well as two other services built around using natural language processing to make mobile life easier, Yahoo-acquired Summly and Siri — says that this is the latest step for taking its technology mainstream. Last year, the company picked up a Series A round of $2.3 million from Horizons, Initial Capital and lool Ventures and launched as a web-based service aimed mainly at enterprises, with some 50,000 sites taking up the service and generating close to 20 million video views each month.
If you go back to that news from a year ago, you will see how the app used to look, and it provides a useful marker show just how far it’s come along, in its first major update since that funding was announced.
Today, as you can see in the video below, there are significantly more dynamic video clips, infographics and an overall smoother look to the product. Zohar Dayan, the CEO and co-founder of the company, says that Wibbitz has been working on the product you see today for over two years. “A lot of core technology and machine learning created by some very talented people went into this,” he says.
And the mobile app is just the beginning: “Right now we’re focusing on mobile, where reading text is difficult on a small screen. We see the most potential and highest need there,” he says. But he says that Wibbitz “also sees pain in smart TVs as well.” As more web content makes its way to bigger screens, he says, it can be just as difficult to read that as it is on small screens: “Reading text articles on TVs is impossible,” he says.
Launching a consumer app does not mean that Wibbitz is abandoning its B2B prospects, either. In a “stage two” in a few months time, Dayan says that it will be releasing the technology as an embedded service on third-party apps. One of the first that will use this is the Telegraph newspaper in the UK.
It is also in the process of raising another round of financing to keep moving ahead with its bigger plans to move away from text in places where it may be too challenging to read.
A demo of how Wibbitz looks today is embedded here: