Advanced Television

Papercup announces $20m Series A funding.

June 9, 2022

Papercup, a UK artificial intelligence start-up, has set an ambitious goal of bringing human emotion to AI dubbing services, as it receives a $20 million (€18.6m) Series A investment round.

The company intends to use the funding to make global video content watchable in any language through emotive and realistic synthetic voices and AI dubbing.

Founded in 2017, Papercup created an AI and machine learning-based system that translates people’s voices and ways of expression into other languages. Customers upload their videos, choose a target language and then receive a translated version with a synthetic voiceover, indistinguishable from human voices.

The technology has already been used by Sky News, Discovery and Business Insider, and was used to translate 30 seasons of Bob Ross’ iconic show The Joy of Painting. More than 300 million people have watched videos translated by Papercup over the past 12 months.

Jesse Shemen, CEO of Papercup, said: “People retain up to 70 per cent more information when watching videos dubbed in their native language. With truly emotive cross-lingual AI dubbing, we can tackle all forms of content, making video and audio more accessible and enjoyable for everyone. This funding will allow us to double down on our promising research and break into new content categories.”

Octopus Ventures leads the investment joined by Local Globe, Sands Capital, Sky and Guardian Media Ventures, Entrepreneur First, BDMI as well as a range of angel investors, including Des Traynor, Co-founder of Intercom, and John Collison, Co-founder of Stripe.Existing angel investors include William Tunstall-Pedoe, founder of Evi (now Amazon’s Alexa) and Zoubin Ghahramani, Senior Research Director at Google Brain, and former Chief Scientist at Uber.

Zoe Reich, investor, Octopus Ventures, commented:  “Spotify has 3.2 million podcasts. Youtube 500 hours of video uploaded every minute. Discovery [has] 100,000 hours of documentaries. CNN [has] 4 million video assets. The volume of video and audio produced for consumption is rising exponentially, yet, only 1 per cent is currently dubbed into multiple languages. Papercup’s use of AI to provide affordable, high quality dubbing can unlock that content for audiences around the world and in, doing so, drive a 100 fold expansion in the video and audio translation market with Papercup at the forefront.”

Chris Eng, Principal, Sands Capital, added:  “In a world that has increasingly embraced online video during the last two years, Papercup’s solutions can have a resounding impact, expanding the reach and unlocking millions of hours of video content. Papercup can set the standard for high quality video localization and demonstrate the immense value AI can bring to online and digital videos.”

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