AI-powered media modifying app Descript lands recent money from OpenAI • TechCrunch

Descript, the audio and video modifying platform based in 2017 by former Groupon CEO Andrew Mason, has raised $50 million in a Collection C spherical led by the OpenAI Startup Fund, a tranche by means of which OpenAI and its companions, together with Microsoft, are investing in early-stage firms. Descript is the second startup to obtain a money infusion from the fund after AI note-taking app Mem, and Mason says it displays OpenAI’s perception in the way forward for Descript’s AI-powered options.

“I based Descript with the thought of constructing a easy, intuitive, fully-powered modifying device for video and audio — an modifying device constructed for the age of AI,” Mason informed TechCrunch in an e-mail interview. “We’re on the verge of a generational change in the way in which we create content material — fueled by AI. That features the form of instruments like creators are already utilizing in Descript, and rising stuff like generative AI. The problem for firms like ours is the way to make that expertise helpful and accessible.”

Mason wouldn’t reveal Descript’s valuation post-money, however he famous that the funding — which additionally had participation from Andreessen Horowitz, Redpoint Ventures, Spark Capital and ex-Y Combinator associate Daniel Gross — brings the corporate’s complete raised to $100 million. In line with a report from The Info in October, OpenAI had agreed to steer funding valuing Descript at round $550 million, over double the startup’s valuation as of January 2021 ($260 million).

“We began the OpenAI Startup Fund to speed up the impression firms constructing on highly effective AI could have on the world, and we’re notably enthusiastic about instruments that empower individuals creatively,” OpenAI COO Brad Lightcap, who manages the OpenAI Startup Fund, mentioned in a press launch. “It’s clear from utilizing Descript and speaking to clients that Descript is breaking down boundaries between concept and creation by extending video modifying capabilities to a wholly new class of creators.”

Descript was created as a spin-off of Mason’s audio-guide enterprise Detour, which Bose acquired in 2018. The platform, geared towards podcasters and videographers unfamiliar with professional-level modifying instruments, lets customers create prompt transcriptions of audio and video that may then be reduce and paired with music, photographs and different content material utilizing drag-and-drop instruments.

Coinciding with the brand new money, Descript at the moment unveiled a bunch of modifying options — some powered by AI — and a redesign meant to make modifying video “as simple as modifying a doc or slides,” in Mason’s phrases. That is likely to be overpromising a bit. However the brand new capabilities do certainly streamline features of content material creation which have traditionally been arduous.

For instance, Descript now provides a background elimination characteristic that lets customers put their movies in any setting they need. And with write mode, customers can edit scripts in Descript, tapping the platform’s Overdub voice cloning tech to scratch a voiceover.


Descript’s redesigned modifying interface, rolling out at the moment, which provides options like templates and background elimination for video. Picture Credit: Descript

Different highlights within the newest launch of Descript, known as Descript Storyboard, embrace multitrack display recording — the recorder is now built-in into the editor, with separate tracks for display and digicam — and free entry to inventory sound results, movies, photos and music tracks. Descript additionally now offers new video transitions and animations and varied templates, together with layouts, titles sequences and social clips, together with the flexibility to create customized venture templates.

With the redesign, Mason says that the objective was to each complement and increase Descript’s transcript-based editor whereas leaving core performance intact. A brand new expertise known as Scenes permits customers to interrupt scripts composed in write mode into scenes after which prepare the visuals they similar approach they’d work with slides in a deck. Scenes retains voiceovers from Overdub aligned with the script, letting creators swap a scratch clip with the ultimate recording, for instance, with out having to fret in regards to the tracks falling out of alignment.

“We imagine video needs to be in each communicator’s toolkit, as ubiquitous as docs and slides. The instruments are the one issues stopping that, and we intend to vary it,” Mason mentioned. “We consider our predominant competitors as non-editors — individuals who aren’t making video as a result of the instruments are too advanced and time consuming.”

Descript isn’t the one firm competing within the audiovisual content material modifying area. Moreover incumbents like Adobe, there are startups reminiscent of Reduct.Video, which makes use of AI, pure language processing and different tech to robotically create editable transcripts.

San Francisco-based Descript, which employs about 100 individuals, has been aggressively increasing, nevertheless, acquiring AI firm Lyrebird in 2019 to energy its Overdub characteristic. Initially targeted on audio modifying, Descript launched its first video modifying options two years in the past, chasing after a digital video market that’s estimated to be price greater than $20 billion.

The technique seems to be working for Descript to this point, which counted NPR, VICE, The Washington Publish and The New York Instances amongst its clients as of 2021. Whereas Mason wouldn’t reply questions on income, he says that Descript’s shopper base has expanded in latest months to “main universities and nonprofits,” in addition to organizations within the public sector.

“The pandemic modified the way in which all of us create and collaborate — lots of people cooped up at residence received extra interested in video, and lots of people began exploring the creator economic system,” Mason mentioned. “Firms began utilizing video for extra of their async communications. Across the similar time, particular person creators stopped respecting the boundaries between media; YouTubers began podcasts, podcasters flocked to TikTok and so forth. Our new funding, plus the truth that all these issues I simply talked about are solely gaining power, places us in a terrific place to climate any headwinds.”

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