Israeli Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered video creation platform Wibbitz today announced that it has raised $20 million in Series C funding led by Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments (BDMI), and with participation from The Weather Channel television network, The Associated Press, TF1 Group, and existing investors including NantMobile, lool Ventures, and Horizons Ventures. The Tel Aviv based company, which has opened offices in New York, most recently raised $8 million in Series B financing in May 2015 and has now $30.8 million to date.
Wibbitz will use the latest investment funds to continue its global expansion, and enlarge its development, product, design, sales, marketing, support and in-house editorial teams. The funding will also be invested in advancing artificial intelligence technologies and automation capabilities of its web-based platform for an even smoother and smarter video creation experience, and to launch products built for new markets and use cases.
Wibbitz CEO Zohar Dayan and COO Yotam Cohen founded the company in 2011.
Dayan said, “Audiences expect video wherever they consume content, and every platform demands its own unique video formats. Wibbitz helps publishers solve the biggest challenges posed by video - resources and bandwidth. Today’s funding not only underscores the rising value of video, but also the power of AI and automation technologies to reduce tedious, production-related processes."
He added, "Our publishing partners spend under six minutes, on average, producing original videos that drive four times the engagement of text-only content. These videos are intricate, composed of beautiful media, text overlays, custom branded graphics, diverse soundtracks and more. It’s humbling to secure funding from such amazing partners so that we can expand our product capabilities, our team, and the global reach of Wibbitz in the years ahead.”
Today’s investment follows a period of rapid growth for Wibbitz with a 400% year-on-year increase in revenue expected in 2017.
Wibbitz’s customer base now includes over half of the top 100 digital media companies in the US and Europe with recent partnerships being formed with Bloomberg, Cox Media Group, Smarter Travel, REVOLT Media & TV, TEN: A Discovery Communications Company, Evolve Media, and the Weather Channel television network. The company employs over 60 people in New York City, Tel Aviv, and Paris, with plans to open more offices in the coming year.
“Whether it’s breaking news a publication needs out now, or vertical content consumed on Snapchat, video is here to stay. Over 50% of publishers say video is the most essential aspect of their editorial and monetization strategies, and Wibbitz is helping industry leaders exceed their goals with powerful automation that enables a new way to create visual content,” said Urs Cete, Managing Partner of BDMI. “It’s a testament to the Wibbitz platform and its devoted team to be able to name publishers including CBS Interactive, Time Inc., Reuters, Forbes, and Hearst as customers entrusting the company with such a key pillar of their future success. We’re excited to be a partner to Wibbitz as it continues to grow both the product and the team as global digital video demand soars.”
The Weather Channel’s investment comes a year after partnering with Wibbitz to automate video creation for its OTT streaming service, Local Now. Editors at Local Now leverage the Wibbitz platform to produce videos around hyper-local news in weather, politics, sports, and business to publish on platforms including Apple TV, Roku, Sling TV, desktop and mobile devices.
“At The Weather Channel we are deeply committed to innovation and growth, and after seeing the capabilities and potential of Wibbitz’s technology, we’ve realized we don’t want to just adopt it for ourselves, we also want to have proverbial skin in the game and ensure media companies are heard in the process of product development,” said Dave Shull, CEO of The Weather Channel television network. “In order to meet the needs of the next generation of local news and weather viewers, all publishers must think video-first, which can be an intimidating shift due to budgets, staffing, and time. Wibbitz removes all those barriers, ensuring every publisher can deliver the best video experience, professionally, and in keeping with their editorial voice. We’re looking forward to working with Wibbitz closely to contribute to the future usability and functionality of the platform that will meet the needs of every brand around the globe.”
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 24, 2017
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