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AI-powered transcription platform Otter.ai secures $50m investment

by Ciarán Daly
Article ImageAfter growing its revenue by more than 800 percent in 2020

A favourite of journalists, translators, and recruiters alike, transcription platform Otter.ai has raised $50 million dollars as part of its Series B funding round led by Spectrum Equity.

After securing funds from Horizons Ventures, Draper Associates, GGV Capital, Draper Dragon Fund, and more, the firm now plans to accelerate product development.

It also hopes to triple its staff over the next year, announcing a major recruitment drive for specialists in deep learning, natural language processing, engineering, and marketing, and looking for a VP of Sales.

Riding the wave of remote work

Founded in 2016 and based in Los Altos, California, Otter is an online meeting productivity tool that integrates with video conferencing systems such as Zoom and Google Meet, with its AI assistant able to accurately transcribe meeting notes from audio feeds in real time.

After the world switched to remote work seemingly overnight, apps like Otter saw huge increases in demand, with the company’s revenue growing by more than 800 percent in 2020. The firm claims that the app has now transcribed more than 100 million meetings spanning three billion minutes, across 230 countries.

“Over the past year, the world as we know it has inexorably changed by meeting and interacting online; and even after the pandemic is long behind us, our living, learning, and working online will persist,” Sam Liang, founder and CEO of Otter.ai, said.

“This new mode of online interaction, however, has exposed an existing chasm between our need for meetings and the lack of their effectiveness. Otter.ai’s vision is to create more effective meeting spaces through advances in AI and ML, and we are thrilled to leverage Spectrum Equity’s experience in scaling product-driven growth companies.”

While the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the switch remote work, it was part of a much longer-term trend which has seen the number of remote workers increase by 140 percent since 2005.

What’s more, remote work and collaboration is a trend that’s seemingly here to stay – a Gallup poll in early 2020 found that 54 percent of office workers would leave their job, if they could have one with more flexible office hours.

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