Minute.ly, a Tel Aviv- and New York-based startup developing a platform that taps AI to enhance video content, today announced that it’s raised $8 million in a funding round led by Ansonia Holdings, with participation from strategic partner Infront and existing investor Gilad Shabtai. The fresh funds bring the company’s total raised to $12 million, the bulk of which will be used to expand Minute’s international footprint and develop its products further, according to CEO and cofounder Amit Golan.
“In today’s highly competitive market, Minute.ly gives publishers and content creators the tools they need to make the most of their video inventory, maximize revenue, and cut back on costs,” said Golan. “This investment will enable us to continue to develop and scale our technology — already at the forefront of the online video revolution — helping bring more publishers and content creators into the video age.”
Minute’s real-time analysis service ingests hundreds of real-time or recorded videos in seconds to generate attention-grabbing, heart-thumping clips from them. It’s even able to crop landscape footage to portrait automatically, enabling clients to reuse existing desktop assets on mobile.
The underpinning algorithms’ secret sauce is data, much of it crowdsourced from a Tinder-like app the Minute team launched in 2013. Users swiped right on auto-generated video snippets that caught their eye, contributing to a training corpus for the company’s machine learning models.
Minute offers its video preview generator alongside other AI-powered tools, including Top Videos, which aggregates publishers’ top-performing video articles and presents recommendations to viewers, and Automated Preview Video, which crafts teasers from existing clips. A more recent addition is Stories By Minute, which updates social media stories (like Snapchat Stories and Instagram Stories) every 24 hours with auto-detected video highlights.
Settings for all three populate Control Panel, Minute’s bespoke analytics dashboard. That’s also where customers can view real-time stats like clickthrough rates and video engagement.
Minute claims its suite can boost a livestream audience by 13% and advertising revenue by up to 37%, and it says it’s already been used by “top broadcasters” for the 2018 World Cup Russia and by “dozens” of sports, news, and entertainment websites.
During an earlier conversation with VentureBeat, Golan insisted that he’s not trying to take human editors or creators out of the loop entirely. Instead, he explained, the goal is to help publishers make the most of their video inventory.
“By 2020, streaming video will contribute to 80% of online traffic. That’s a lot of competition, and most publishers won’t generate enough video revenue to cover expenses,” said Golan. “Our product helps their chances … Through our first of its kind deep video analysis and crowdsourcing technology, we automatically discover what pieces of content truly engage users through real-time personalized experience. We can identify and create the most engaging previews to drive user engagement.”
Infront vice president of strategy and business development Christian Mueller unsurprisingly agrees. “Minute.ly’s technology will allow current and future clients to reach more fans around the world, optimizing marketing efforts in an efficient and reliable way to generate new revenue streams,” he said. “Collaborating with a start-up aligns perfectly with our strategy of focusing on innovative client-orientated solutions.”