Media companies looking for a way to ride the wave of customer demand for online video content may have found their vessel with the new $11 million financing for New York-based Wochit.
The company, founded by two serial Israeli entrepreneurs, has raised fresh capital to roll out its text-to-video technology to any publisher that’s looking for more ways to put more video in front of their audience.
Wochit’s new round was led by Marker LLC, with participation from previous investors Cedar Fund, Greycroft Partners, and Redpoint Ventures. According to Wochit chief executive and co-founder Dror Ginzberg, the company already has a number of high-profile customers including Forbes, AOLOn (whose parent company is the publisher of TechCrunch), The Chicago Tribune, Yahoo and several others.
The technology has a natural language search function that spiders articles for key words and phrases and then pulls the relevant content — fully licensed — from sources online. A Wochit video can be produced almost entirely by the company for a fee, per-video, and a cut of any ad dollars that a publisher gets from the associated advertising content.
In addition to the automated service collecting digital information, the company also provides automatically generated scripts, and will send those scripts to voice-over professionals for audio, and can package the video and deliver it to customers.
“Many of our clients now move from a full-service mode, in which we deliver an end-to-end service creating videos based on their stories, into a self-service mode where they gain more control editorially — especially on the visual aspect of the video,” Ginzberg wrote in an email. “Still, many of them rely on our voice-over talent network, mainly because there is no other service in the world who can turn around a real, human voice-over for a story in literally two-to-three minutes.”
Advertisers see in-video advertising as one of the better ways to get eyeballs on the advertising that pays most publishers’ bills, because other forms of advertising are often ignored. So far, the price tags haven’t kept scads of publishers for signing up for the company’s service, according to Ginzberg.
Ginzberg says the round was oversubscribed and closed in a matter of months from start to finish. The company had previously raised $4.75 million in May 2013. He and co-founder Ran Oz have been part of the Israeli startup community and known each other for 15 years, Ginzberg said. The company recently re-located its headquarters to New York from Israel to be closer to the media companies that are its biggest clients.
Money from the new financing will be used to grow the company’s sales and business development efforts. There’s also more that needs to be done on the product side, Ginzburg says, and some capital will be used to build out the company’s engineering team.
“We envision a world in which anyone is a video creator, from big publishers and brands to ‘Joe Blogger’, a social influencer or a citizen journalist. Much like anyone can turn into a publisher with WordPress,” says Ginzberg. “We make it easy, taking off all the roadblocks for video creation.”
Photo via Flickr user John Atherton.