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Video editor Descript raises $50 million

Nov 15, 2022
Illustration of a computer keyboard key with an edit icon.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Descript, a San Francisco-based video editing software startup, has raised $50 million in a Series C round.

Why it matters: While video consumption increases through addictive apps like TikTok, the barrier to creating quality videos remains high. Descript operates within the creator economy, helping both businesses and individuals make videos more easily.

Details: The round was led by OpenAI Startup Fund, which launched last year and announced its first investment — the note-taking app Mem — last week. Andreessen Horowitz, Redpoint Ventures, Spark Capital and Daniel Gross also participated.

  • OpenAI COO Brad Lightcap, who manages the OpenAI Startup Fund, says he thinks of Descript as a "new platform for creativity," powered by artificial intelligence.
  • "AI can bring capabilities that previously were only really accessible to people who have a very specialized skill set to anyone," Lightcap says. "The thing that matters most for us is making sure that they can build it in a way that is obviously usable and ... has the right kind of safeguards for it to be reliable."
  • Descript has raised $100 million in total and has about 100 employees. CEO Andrew Mason says the company currently is not profitable, but declined to disclose annual revenue or valuation.

Catch up quick: Mason — who founded and led Groupon until he was ousted in 2013 — launched Descript in 2017 as a transcription service and audio editing tool. It was spun out of his audio tour startup Detour, which later sold to Bose.

  • The service gained popularity among podcasters. In 2020, it added video editing, which Mason says was his original goal.
  • Descript's clients include individual creators and companies like the New York Times, ESPN and Vice.

Of note: Along with the investment, Descript announced the launch of 30 new features such as stock media, templates and green screen.

What's next: Mason says he plans to put the funding toward product development, hiring and marketing.

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