Wibbitz, an Israeli text-to-video startup, announced that it raised $8M in a Series B funding round led by billionaire physician and entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong’s NantMobile. Existing investors Horizon Ventures (owned by Hong Kong business magnate Li Ka-shing), lool ventures, Initial Capital and Kima Ventures (co-founded by French entrepreneur Xavier Niel and serial entrepreneur Jérémie Berrebi) also participated.
Wibbitz provides publishers with a scalable text-to-video platform to quickly increase video inventory and better monetize their content with pre-roll ad space. It creates broadcast ready, branded videos for publishers — within seconds — to meet the demand for digestible video content that can be watched on any device. This is accomplished using sophisticated automated technology that turns existing text-based articles into video summaries with little input or edits needed from the publisher. It analyzes the text for tone and content to help create a summarized script, which is then automatically matched with visual content and a narrative voiceover to complete the video creation process.
“High quality video content is no longer a luxury for publishers — it’s a necessity. Most video content is expensive to produce and maintain, and our technology solves this growing issue,” said Wibbitz co-founder and CEO Zohar Dayan. “Newsrooms are shrinking, video production remains costly, and there is huge demand for video ad placement. Wibbitz relieves these pressures so that editors can focus on creating quality content while executives can establish new opportunities for revenue.”
The $8M investment will be used to build out the company’s U.S. headquarters in New York City’s Financial District, a growing hub for media and technology companies. Specifically, Wibbitz will be focusing on expanding its business development, sales, marketing, and editorial teams, with plans to hire about 20 new employees within the next few months. Wibbitz’ research and development and engineering team will remain in Israel.
Founded in Tel Aviv in 2011, Wibbitz first released an award-winning mobile news app for consumers to showcase its text-to-video technology. Now, the company is launching its B2B platform and focusing on new features to expand its publisher services. Wibbitz has invested heavily in the development of its comprehensive Control-Room solution, a video creation platform that provides publishers with editorial control over branding narratives, visual components and the option for human voiceover.
“Wibbitz’ technology platform has massive potential for meeting the growing demand from publishers for a comprehensive video solution,” said Patrick Soon-Shiong, Founder of NantMobile. “We believe this technology will become a necessity for publishers to grow their existing business models and thrive in the era of digital media. We’re eager to join Wibbitz as it builds momentum and leads the way in video creation technologies.”
“The ability to quickly create engaging short news videos is the perfect solution for today’s fast paced world,” said Fay Arjomandi CEO of NantMobile. “Wibbitz creates an effective and powerful new way to view customized content on mobile and other devices.”