Wibbitz, a Tel Aviv-based maker of a text-to-video platform that automates the production process onf online video, has raised $20 million in series C funding from a group of investors including The Weather Channel, Bertelsmann Digital Investments, the Associated Press and TF1 Group.
The new participants join existing investors like NantMobile, lool Ventures, and Horizons Ventures and the money will be used to make key hires across Wibbitz’s development, product, design, sales, marketing, support and in-house editorial teams. The funding will also be invested in advancing artificial intelligence technologies and automation capabilities of its web-based platform and to launch products built for new markets and use cases.
Wibbitz most recently completed an $8 million Series B funding round in 2015, and with today's announcement, the company's total funding is now $30.8 million.
"Today's funding not only underscores the rising value of video, but also the power of AI and automation technologies to reduce tedious, production-related processes," Wibbitz co-founder and CEO Zohar Dayan said in a statement. "Our publishing partners spend under six minutes, on average, producing original videos that drive four times the engagement of text-only content. "
Wibbitz's customer base includes more than half of the top 100 digital media companies in the U.S. and Europe with recent partnerships being formed with Bloomberg, Cox Media Group, SmarterTravel, REVOLT Media & TV, TEN: A Discovery Communications Company, Evolve Media, and the Weather Channel. The company employs more than 60 people in three offices in New York, Tel Aviv, and Paris, with plans to open more in the coming year.
The Weather Channel's investment comes a year after partnering with Wibbitz to automate video creation for its OTT streaming service, Local Now. Editors at Local Now use the Wibbitz platform to produce videos around hyper-local news in weather, politics, sports, and business to publish on platforms including Apple TV, Roku, Sling TV, desktop and mobile devices.
"At The Weather Channel we are deeply committed to innovation and growth, and after seeing the capabilities and potential of Wibbitz's technology, we've realized we don't want to just adopt it for ourselves, we also want to have proverbial skin in the game and ensure media companies are heard in the process of product development," said Dave Shull, CEO of The Weather Channel television network. " We're looking forward to working with Wibbitz closely to contribute to the future usability and functionality of the platform that will meet the needs of every brand around the globe."