Former Groupon CEO Andrew Mason created Descript in 2017, and the audio and video editing platform has since raised US$50 million in a Series C investment sponsored by the OpenAI Startup Fund, a fund through which OpenAI and its partners, including Microsoft, invest in early-stage businesses. After the AI note-taking software Mem, Descript is the second startup to get funding from the fund, and Mason claims that this demonstrates OpenAI’s confidence in the potential of Descript’s AI-powered features.
Mason told, “I developed Descript with the intention of providing a simple, intuitive, fully-powered editing tool for video and audio – an editing tool built for the age of AI.” “Powered by AI, a generational shift in the way we produce content is about to occur. This encompasses both new technologies like generative AI and the tools that creators are already utilizing, such as Descript. For companies like ours, overcoming this technology’s accessibility and usability is a challenge.
Descript has now collected $100 million in fundraising, according to Mason, who would not disclose the company’s post-money valuation. Other investors in the round included Andreessen Horowitz, Redpoint Ventures, Spark Capital, and ex-Y Combinator partner Daniel Gross. The Information reported in October that OpenAI has decided to take the lead financing, valuing Descript at about US$550 million, more than quadruple the start-up’s capitalization in January 2021 (US$260 million).
In a press statement, OpenAI COO Brad Lightcap, who oversees the OpenAI Startup Fund, said, “We launched the OpenAI Startup Fund to expedite the impact start-ups developing powerful AI will have on the world. We’re particularly enthused about tools that empower people creatively. It is clear from using the software and talking to its users that Descript is lowering barriers between concept and creation by providing video editing skills to a whole new class of producers. Descript sprang from Mason’s audio-guide company Detour, which Bose bought in 2018. Users of the site can rapidly transcribe audio and video, which can then be cut up and combined with other pieces of content like music or pictures using drag-and-drop capabilities. It is designed for podcasters and videographers who are unfamiliar with professional-level editing tools.
Along with the additional funding, Descript today introduced a number of editing capabilities, some driven by AI, and a redesign that, in Mason’s words, aims to make editing video “as simple as editing a doc or slides.” That may be a tad overly hopeful. However, the recently introduced technologies really make the hard processes of article development simpler. Descript, for instance, now provides a background removal option that enables users to arrange their movies in any environment they choose. Additionally, using the platform’s Overdub voice cloning technology, users can edit scripts in Descript while in write mode.