Audio and video editing platform Descript Inc. said today it has closed on a $50 million Series C round of funding led by the OpenAI Startup Fund, which was created by OpenAI Inc. and its partners, including Microsoft Corp. Andreessen Horowitz, Redpoint Ventures, Spark Capital and ex-Y Combinator partner Daniel Gross also participated in the round, which brings Descript’s total amount raised to more than $100 million.
Descript was founded by former Groupon Inc. Chief Executive Andrew Mason, who told TechCrunch in an interview that the app is designed to be a simple, intuitive yet fully-powered editing tool for video and audio that’s reliant on AI to do much of the processing for users.
Descript is mostly aimed at podcasters and videographers who’re unable or unwilling to learn how to use professional video editing tools. It works by allowing users to create an instant transcription of their audio or video that they can then cut or pair with music, photos and other content, using drag-and-drop tools. The app relies on a strong dose of artificial intelligence to keep everything simple.
Alongside the fresh funds announced today, Descript launched multiple new features within its redesigned platform, with the intention of making video editing as simple as altering a Word document or PowerPoint slide.
That’s probably too ambitious a claim, but the new capabilities should at least help to streamline some of the more arduous tasks involved in editing video content. For instance there’s a new background removal feature that quickly allows users to drop their videos into any setting they want.
“Whenever you want your visuals to change, you just type a slash and then that creates this thing that we call a scene, which is like a slide in PowerPoint or Google Slides,” Mason wrote in a blog post. “You can drag B-roll or images onto your scene — including from our new stock media library — or apply a template, or add titles or text. Or you can use our AI green screen to remove your background and replace it with something else.”
OpenAI Chief Operating Officer Brad Lightcap said the OpenAI Startup Fund is particularly excited about tools that empower people creatively, hence the attraction of Descript. “It’s clear from using Descript and talking to customers that it is breaking down barriers between idea and creation by extending video editing capabilities to an entirely new class of creators.”