AI-powered transcription platform Verbit today announced it has acquired VITAC, the largest provider of captioning products and solutions in North America. Verbit says the deal will position it as one of the top firms in the professional transcription and captioning market across legal, media, education, government, and corporate sectors.
The voice and speech recognition tech market is anticipated to be worth $31.82 billion by 2025, driven by new applications in the banking, health care, and automotive industries. Indeed, the enterprise is experiencing an uptick in voice technology adoption during the pandemic. In a 2020 survey of 500 IT and business decision-makers in the U.S., France, Germany, and the U.K., 28% of respondents said they were using voice technologies and 84% expect to use them this year.
Verbit says VITAC, which was founded in 1986, will enable it to offer a “deeper” portfolio of transcription solutions, including experts, AI-based tools, additional languages, and integrations with video cloud platforms. VITAC also provides access to a 1,700-organization customer base spanning every broadcast company, most cable networks, program producers, corporations, educational institutions, and government agencies.
Canonsburg, Pennsylvania-based VITAC, which has over 700 employees, estimates that it captions over 550,000 live and 75,000 prerecorded hours of programming per year.
“We’re delighted to join the Verbit family and bolster their leading position in the transcription industry globally,” VITAC CEO Chris Crowell said in a statement. “We’ve been incredibly impressed with Verbit’s rapid growth and technology advantages, and together we look forward to serving more of this dynamic industry with clients across all vertical segments.”
Verbit’s voice transcription and captioning services aren’t novel — well-established players like Nuance, Cisco, Otter, Voicera, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google have offered rival products for years, including enterprise-focused platforms like Microsoft 365. But Verbit’s adaptive speech recognition tech can generate transcriptions it claims offer over 99.9% accuracy.
Verbit customers first upload audio or video files to a dashboard for AI-guided processing. Then a team of over 33,000 human freelancers in over 120 countries edits and reviews the material, taking into account customer-supplied notes and guidelines. Finished transcriptions from Verbit are available for export to services like Blackboard, Vimeo, YouTube, Canvas, and BrightCode. A web frontend shows the progress of jobs and lets users edit and share files or define the access permissions for each, as well as adding inline comments, requesting reviews, or viewing usage reports.
As of November 2020, Verbit had over 400 educational institutions and commercial clients, including Harvard, the NCAA, London Business School, Fashion Institute of Technology, Stanford, Coursera, and Udacity. Revenue is in the “millions,” and the company is cash flow positive, Verbit CEO Tom Livne told VentureBeat in a previous interview.
Verbit recently closed a $60 million funding round led by Sapphire Ventures. The Tel Aviv- and New York-based company’s total raised stands at over $100 million.
“We are thrilled to further strengthen our position as the market leader in the transcription and captioning industry, in partnership with VITAC. This opportunity allows us to expand our offerings for the media vertical and provide advanced transcription capabilities to our current education, legal, and corporate customers,” Livne said in a press release. “The combined company will harness decades of transcription and captioning expertise to offer customers a best-in-class solution based on our proven technology. We will continue to invest in our platform, top talent, and domain expertise to evolve and develop our solutions to meet our customers’ dynamic needs.”
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