Descript raises $30M to build the next generation of video and audio editing tools – TechCrunch

The popularity of podcasting and online video shows no signs of slowing down, and so we continue to see a wave of creators publishing an illusion of audio and video content to fill the airwaves. Today, a company that builds a platform to make that work easier and more interesting to execute is announcing a round of development funding to double the opportunity.

Describe, Which builds tools that allow creators to edit using audio and video files, for example, natural language processing to link content to editing text files, has raised $ 30 in a Series B round of funding Has invested million.

Andrew Mason, The CEO and founder of the company said in an interview that the scheme would use the funds not only to create tools for the mass-market and individual professional and amateur creators, but also for fast-growing organizations. is. Equipment for its own in-house video and audio needs, a use case that has certainly developed during the final year of global remote work.

“We see ourselves … as a comprehensive platform for all media needs”, Mason said.

The company won early by signing customers such as NPR, Pushkin Industries, VICE, The Washington Post and The New York Times, as well as smaller and more modest media organizations. Mason said it is also now looking at startups and large businesses using video for communication Describe Tools, especially in cases where it makes more sense to imagine answers, but content can still use the ability to be edited.

Whether we’re externally or internally, for things like bug reporting or personal introductions or helpdesk videos, we’re looking People using the descript for internal video, “he said,” sometimes in place of something like email. “

Spark Capital, and in particular Nabil Hyatt (who founded Music Games Specialist, Conduit Labs in a previous life, acquired by Genega), led the round, with Andreessen Horowitz and Redpoint Ventures also participating (both backscripts It included $ 15 million series A In 2019).

Many individuals – some investors, and some investors are also famous for their videos, podcasting and publishing work – have also participated in this series B, among them Devdutt Akhaway, Alex Blumberg, Jack Conte, Justin Agaric, Todd Goldberg, Jean-Denis Grey’s, John Lilly, Toby Lutke, Bharat Mediratta, Shishir Mehrotra, Casey Nestat, Brian Pokorny, Raghavendra Prabhu, Lenny Rechitsky, Naval Ravikant, Jay Simons, Jake Shapiro, Rahul Vohra, and Eve Williams.

The news comes on the heels of an incident for the company for several months. In October, Descript released its first major update to its editing suite, expanding from audio editing tools to cover video. Mason said the response so far to the technology has been “excellent”, though she is still declining to say how many users of Descript have or use it for its or its older audio technology.

In any case, the trick of expanding descripts to the new medium matters a lot when you consider how closely aligned audio-based podcasting content is with many of the same videos. The most popular podcasters often post videos of their recordings on YouTube and other platforms, for those who like to watch the recordings.

(It also helps, that the video is highly controversial. Podcasting is on track to generate more than $ 1 billion in advertising revenue in the US in 2021. Internet Advertising Bureau. Meanwhile, even in a year that was considered slowdown, digital video Pulled in over $ 22 billion.)

But that double-platform approach has largely been executed on auto-pilot so far, as Mason explains, a lot of the video has been described as “window dressing”.

“We watch a lot of videos and podcasts and think about how we can create a tool that makes it fun and easy to craft great content,” Mason said. “One thing that we have noticed is that a significant amount of video is just audio with window dressing. You don’t notice it until you start looking through that lens. A ton of video is about what’s going on with audio, and so a lot of that video is there. “A lot of editing is no more than a series of jump cuts,” he said, and despite other challenges like poor equipment, it’s not just a very exciting experience.

This makes it easier for Descript to make the groundwork not only a tool to create but to edit, but to imagine doing so in a way that is a better and potentially more original product at the end of the process Also makes.

Prior to Descript, he founded and eventually sold (to Bose) Mason’s audio-based services for his two previous startups. Audio-based guide service called Detour – Something has been done about a left turn for a man who is probably still better known as co-founder of the once wildly popular selling class.

However, Mason studied music at university and it is clear that audio and sound-based experiences – not just music, but also the effects they can actually have – are where his passion lies.

Mason is also a bit of a type. He is willing to pinch that his ability to raise money for completely different concepts for a world away from e-commerce is already in no small part due to him winning the “startup lottery”.

And yes, this is a word and often true in my experience and observation, but in this case, I would say that it underscores some of the really interesting innovations that Descript has created and is building – technology that Proven demand both with customers, and (as it happens) like big companies (More recently) Amazon, Spotify, Apple, Google and Facebook, which are raising several small audio technology startups in their own efforts to build their large media business.

And on why Descript has attracted this latest round of investment.

“We are convinced to use the power of machine learning as a creative tool for some time,” said Hyatt at Spark. “Descriptive is perhaps the best example of this in a startup today. The company takes some very complex technology, but presents it in a way that is actually easier to use than the status quo products. It is very rare that you come across a company using technology to empower a creative professional to work ten times faster, and at the same time make the creative process ten times easier for an amateur , Thereby increasing the addressable market. Anyone editing audio or video, who most of us are nowadays, can see the benefits. “