First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Tom Livne: This year presented new challenges for all companies and my colleagues, both personally and professionally. Being surrounded by an incredible team of peers and investors, as well as supportive family members, has made all of the difference to our company and me.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Verbit.
Tom Livne: I was inspired to create a transcription service after starting my career as a lawyer. At that time, I worked closely with entrepreneurs, and I realized I didn’t want to be a legal advisor; I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I then saw how much time and money was being spent on legal transcription, which sparked the idea of creating a legal-first product and tool to help with this growing need. Verbit was founded in 2017 with an AI-based transcription tool that achieves 85% accuracy rates via its automated transcription services and is then perfected by human professional transcribers. This process is handled by 15,000 human contractors from 120 countries who listen to the recordings in real-time and flag any inaccuracies picked up by the software. Since 2017, Verbit has evolved into a company of more than 120 full-time employees and has raised a total of $65 million. Verbit currently works with 500 customers, including well known legal agencies and universities, and has seen its revenue grow fivefold. The company now has a new presence in San Francisco, in addition to Tel Aviv, New York, and Ukraine.
How does Verbit innovate?
Tom Livne: We have an in-house team that constantly looks to evolve and update our products for the evolving needs of today’s industries. We’re in regular touch with universities and businesses who rely on us and release new updates, such as further opportunities for customization or to achieve better accuracy, so they receive the most innovative tools on the market. Overall, our captioning and transcription tools, which are based on an automatic speech to text technology, are designed to mature and improve in accuracy with each use. Therefore, our product is constantly being innovated and reworked based on new findings and usage. We already have 12 approved patents.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Tom Livne: Verbit continues to be well-positioned to handle our customers’ evolving needs and the changes presented by the pandemic. The majority of our university, media, and business customers moved to remote and distance learning, and we’ve been able to support them with this transition. Our dedicated team worked tirelessly to support the legal space as well as with the move to remote proceedings and digital depositions. The impact on businesses is unknown. We’re listening to customers and developing our products to support hybrid models of learning and work across sectors. We’re aiming to support the new world of work. Our commitment to innovation and listening to the market has instilled confidence in our customers.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Tom Livne: Of course, these are difficult times, and we need to make choices on where best to allocate our spending and resources. We continue to take risks, though, and learn from our mistakes, as well as what works well and will best serve our customers and company long-term.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Tom Livne: I do yoga, go on relaxing trips with my wife, eat healthily, and read helpful books.
How do you project yourself and Verbit in the future?
Tom Livne: Our vast experience in the market, combined with Verbit’s infrastructure and ability to scale, will allow us to capture the opportunity at hand and continue our journey to provide the leading AI-based platform for transcription and captioning.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Tom Livne: The transcription market varies. There are approximately 5,000 companies globally that provide different tools in this area. Verbit’s advantage is its technology. Verbit’s in-house, AI-based technology is able to transform both live and recorded video and audio into 99% accurate captions and transcripts for the higher education, legal, media, and enterprise industries. The combination of Verbit’s in-house ASR (Automated Speech Recognition) technology with professional human transcribers provides a competitive advantage and quick turnaround times. This hybrid model provides clients with high-quality, word-for-word, interactive, and collaborative transcripts and captions in customizable templates. Verbit offers accuracy, scale, and customization that professionals and students depend on for ADA, FCC, and privacy compliance. Users are provided with domain expertise, top technology, 24/7 support, and tailor-made solutions for individual customer needs. As a result, businesses, legal agencies, and universities can increase operational capacity, provide accessibility, and can serve more clients and students with these technologies in place.
Your final thoughts?
Tom Livne: We’re continuing to invest in tools that accommodate the new world of work, such as embedding our products into live web conferencing tools like Zoom. We’re here to help companies with employee training, meetings, and more as they continue to happen remotely and encourage them to check out our Live Room offering.
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