Automated video creation startup Wibbitz raises $20M

Wibbitz, which uses artificial intelligence to create short videos based on text news stories, has raised $20 million in Series C funding.

The money comes from some big names in the media world, with Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments (a subsidiary of German media conglomerate Bertelsmann) leading the round and participation from The Weather Channel, The Associated Press and TF1. Previous backers NantMobile, lool Ventures and Horizons Ventures were also part of the new funding.

Co-founder and CEO Zohar Dayan described the round as “a huge testament to what we’re doing and the value our technology brings to these companies.”

“Just looking at these names that participated in the funding round — these are not small companies,” Dayan said. “It wasn’t like they weren’t producing video before.”

He added that Wibbitz’s technology is meant to supplement publishers’ existing video teams, allowing them to automatically create a large quantity of videos in a low-cost way while the humans “really focus on the high end.”

The company was founded in 2011, but it didn’t make a big push into the United States until two years ago. New publishing partners include Bloomberg, Cox Media Group and the aforementioned Weather Channel TV network.

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You can watch some sample videos here. It’s possible, by the way, that you’ve already seen a Wibbitz video without knowing it: Dayan said the goal is to make them indistinguishable from videos created by humans.

“One of the key trends that we’ve been seeing is much more openness towards artificial intelligence when it comes to content creation,” he said. “I think that people are really starting to come around, or have already come around, and understand the value that it brings. You don’t have to compromise on quality.”

Wibbitz has now raised a total of $30.8 million. Dayan said the new funding will help the company hire across-the-board, as well as expand globally and improve its AI and automation.