Ex-Microsoft engineer’s AI video startup scores $60M from prime VCs, Jared Leto


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Because the demand for generative AI video grows, startups on this house are attracting huge cash from enterprise capital companies. Not too long ago, RunwayML was reported to be elevating a big spherical of funding. Now, Captions, an AI video startup based by former Microsoft engineer Gaurav Misra, has secured $60 million in Collection C funding.

Based in 2021, Captions began as a digital camera app wherein customers recorded ‘speaking movies’ by partaking with the digital camera instantly. Over the previous 12 months, the corporate has shifted its focus to AI, enabling customers to create movies with avatars from scratch. It has basically turn into an AI-powered inventive suite for video creators.

Misra acknowledged that the funding, led by Index Ventures, values the corporate at $500 million. Nevertheless, it’s not a lone effort, as present traders Kleiner Perkins, Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz, in addition to new traders Adobe Ventures, HubSpot Ventures and actor and singer Jared Leto (who beforehand backed Pika) additionally participated within the spherical. 

Captions will use the capital to develop its ML workforce in New York and launch new generative improvements to place itself because the chief within the AI video house. 

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Captions’ holistic suite for AI movies

From the roots of handbook video creation, the place customers needed to speak, document and edit on their very own, Captions has developed right into a holistic AI-powered suite that gives all the things a model or particular person must generate high-quality movies.

To realize this shift, the corporate first expanded its modifying choices with a spread of AI-assisted instruments, together with these for correcting eye contact, dubbing a speaker’s phrases into one other language, executing human-like voiceovers and producing quick clips from an extended piece of video (amongst different issues). 

The options drew a number of million customers to Captions, however the true milestone got here earlier this 12 months when it introduced generative AI-driven AI Creator and AI Edit capabilities. 

Captions AI Creator

The previous allowed customers so as to add customized 3D avatars to their video content material, saving the trouble of speaking manually to the viewers in each video. In the meantime, the latter supplied customers with the flexibility to tweak their content material — full with customized graphics, B-roll, transitions and zooms — simply with a single faucet.

“These revolutionary options (have) catalyzed a brand new age for creativity, empowering a wholly new group of creators who in any other case could have been blocked by the obstacles that include recording or modifying,” Misra famous in a weblog submit.

Much more within the pipeline

Whereas the AI smarts have drawn a lot of customers — greater than 10 million of them creating three million-plus movies each month — to Captions, Misra says that is just the start for the corporate. 

With this spherical of funding, the startup will develop its machine studying (ML) workforce and make investments extra in in-house analysis and technical infrastructure to launch extra AI capabilities for its video platform. 

“Seeking to the longer term, we’re excited to share our plans to speculate $100 million into advancing generative video analysis right here in New York Metropolis,” he wrote. “We consider that New York is rising because the epicenter for AI analysis and stay up for constructing our world-class workforce right here.”

Whereas it stays unclear what precisely Captions has within the pipeline, the transfer to double down on present options may bolster the corporate’s suite right into a unified platform for producing avatar-based movies. This might make the corporate a robust competitor for area of interest gamers like ElevenLabs and Synthesia

The improved set of capabilities may also make Captions extra invaluable to companies, particularly these concerned in social media administration, promoting, content material advertising and marketing and development advertising and marketing.

“Brief-form video has turn into probably the most dominant content material format, and Captions is uniquely positioned
to rework how entrepreneurs create movies and have interaction with prospects,” stated Brandon Greer, head of HubSpot Ventures. “We’re excited to assist Captions as they permit companies of all sizes to provide high-quality video content material quicker than ever.”

Some notable names at present utilizing the Captions’ platform are Disney-owned sports activities community ESPN, “Mr. Fantastic” Kevin O’Leary of Shark Tank fame, Twitch’s founder Justin Kan and the influencer Pointless Innovations.