Japan’s Manabie raises $12M in series A round to build
Image credit: AI Communis
Singapore-based AI Communis, the startup behind the platform integrating speech recognition and natural language processing technologies, announced on Monday that it has raised $300,000 US in an extended angel round. Participating investors are Tokyo-based VC The Seed, Chinese and Taiwanese multi-channel networks (agents managing influencers), Japanese angel investors who are familiar with YouTube-related businesses in addition to existing investors.
This follows the 1st close of the company’s angel round back in September of 2021 when they secured $500,000 US. Keep raising funds, they expect to secure a seed round by the end of 2022.
AI Communis was founded in April of 2020 by Nobuhiko Suzuki, who has been dealing with the business of translating, adding subtitles, and editing video clips. These multilingulization processes, especially needed for global marketing, had been handled manually for a long time, but the significantly improved accuracy of automation tools such as Amazon Transcribe, DeepL, Google Translate has recently made it possible to be mostly automated.
The company launched a web app called Auris last year, which allows users to handle a series of tasks such as translation, subtitling, and video editing in a cloud environment. Leveraging the app, the company plans to launch a new business where crowdsourced gig workers help influencers and company marketers turn their video clips into any of 10 Asian languages.
Such video multilingualization is in great demand among YouTubers and companies who want to expand themselves and their products globally. The service is not yet fully operational and the demand is greater than the company originally expected, but it will take only about a week to deliver an output with adding translated subtitles after receiving the material source.
AI Communis has a wide range of delivery formats. Some YouTubers have asked the company to not only turn their clips into foreign languages, but also to manage different language channels under their YouTube account and to make efforts to increase viewership. The company raised investments from MCN and YouTuber businesses in the latest round to learn from them more about how to increase viewer engagement on social media.
The Auris platform currently supports 10 languages: English, Chinese (Mandarin), Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Tagalog, Indonesian, Hindu, and Malay. This means that in terms of population alone, Auris can streamline the development of content that can help YouTubers and marketers reach more than one-third of the world’s total population.
The platform had about 100 users in November, two months after the beta launch, but since then it has rapidly grown to 1,000 users in January 2022, 3,000 users in March, 8,000 users by the end of March, and now about 10,000 users. Perhaps it’s because of the demand from influencers, KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders), or even attracted potential gig workers using the tool.
AI Communis is based at BLOCK 71, a Singaporean startup hub where NUS (National University of Singapore), Singtel, and other organizations are running their accelerators respectively. The location attracts prospective entrepreneurs and interns from all over Southeast Asia, which is conducive to startups developing multilingual services. They will also perhaps contribute greatly to the development of AI Communis’ business.