UK Generative AI firm Synthesia becomes a Unicorn

Synthesia, a London-based generative AI firm specializing in the creation of realistic human avatars for presentations, has announced a substantial increase in its funding. The company recently secured $90 million (£71.4 million) in a funding round, which has catapulted its valuation to a staggering $1 billion. This development underscores Synthesia’s rapid ascension to the coveted status of a ‘unicorn’ – a privately-held start-up valued at over $1 billion.

Since the introduction of ChatGPT in November, the generative AI sector has seen an exponential increase in popularity. Amongst this surge, Synthesia has managed to stand out as one of the UK’s fastest-growing companies. Its innovative approach and unique product offerings have positioned it as a key player in this rapidly evolving sector.

The considerable Series C funding round, which significantly boosted Synthesia’s resources, was spearheaded by Accel. It also featured contributions from several other prominent investors, such as NVentures – the venture capital arm of NVIDIA, Kleiner Perkins, GV, and Firstmark Capital. These new partnerships bring a wealth of experience and resources that Synthesia can leverage for its future growth.

Synthesia’s co-founder and CEO, Victor Riparbelli, expressed his pride in the team’s achievements and their ability to transform the company into a sustainable entity. He emphasized that Synthesia offers genuine business utility to its thousands of customers, rather than just novelty value. Despite the significant progress, Riparbelli acknowledges that they still have a long journey ahead to realize their vision of simplifying video production for everyone.

While Synthesia was not actively seeking new investments, Riparbelli found that the new investors shared their vision of revolutionizing traditional video production by digitizing the workflow. This shared vision played a significant role in facilitating the funding round and will likely drive the company’s strategic decisions in the future.

Since its inception in 2017, Synthesia’s primary application has been in the production of enterprise videos, such as workplace training and corporate presentations. Philippe Botteri, a partner at Accel, praised Synthesia as one of the few generative AI companies that has managed to combine a unique technology, an exceptional founding team, and a strong return on investment for its enterprise customers. He believes that by drastically reducing the cost and production time of videos, Synthesia is paving the way for new applications in corporate training, marketing, and communication videos.

Despite its impressive success, Synthesia’s journey has not been without controversy. Earlier in the year, it was revealed that technology developed by Synthesia had been exploited to produce video propaganda in Venezuela. In response to this, a company spokesperson stated that they have strict guidelines regarding the content created on their platform and that they enforce their terms of service rigorously, banning users who violate them. This incident underscores the challenges that innovative technology firms face in ensuring their products are used responsibly.