Nvidia-backed Synthesia

Nvidia-backed platform that turns text into A.I.-generated avatars boosts valuation to $1 billion

Nvidia-backed platform that turns text into A.I.-generated avatars boosts valuation to $1 billion


An animated avatar generated by the AI video platform Synthesia.Synthesia

Synthesia, a digital media platform that lets users create artificial intelligence-generated videos, has raked in $90 million from investors — including U.S. chip giant Nvidia, the company told CNBC exclusively.

The London-based company raised the cash in a funding round led by Accel, an early investor in Facebook, Slack and Spotify. Nvidia came in as a strategic investor, putting in an undisclosed amount of money. Other investors include Kleiner Perkins, GV, FirstMark Capital and MMC.

Founded in 2017 by researchers and entrepreneurs Victor Riparbelli, Matthias Niessner, Steffen Tjerrild and Lourdes Agapito, Synthesia develops software that allows people to make their own digital avatars to deliver corporate presentations, training videos — or even compliments to colleagues in more than 120 different languages.

Its ultimate aim is to eliminate cameras, microphones, actors, lengthy edits and other costs from the professional video production process. To do that, Synthesia has created animated avatars which look and sound like humans, but are generated by AI. The avatars are based on real-life actors who speak in front of a green screen.

“Productivity can be improved because you are reducing the cost of producing the video to that of making a PowerPoint,” Philippe Botteri, at Accel, the lead investor in Synthesia’s Series C, told CNBC, adding that adoption of video has been proliferated by consumer platforms such as YouTube, Netflix and TikTok.

“Video is a much better way to communicate knowledge. When we think about the potential of the company and the valuation, we think about what it can return, [and] in the case of Synthesia, we’re just scratching the surface.”

Synthesia is a form of generative AI, similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT. But the company says it has been working on its own proprietary generative AI for years, and that although ChatGPT may have only recently emerged into public consciousness, generative AI itself isn’t a new technology.

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