AI-powered video content moderation

🦄 Unicorner Startup of the Week: Unitary

✍️ Notes from the Editors

Welcome to the 82 new readers who joined us last week! We’re excited to have you here, and even more excited to share some incredible companies with you.

It’s hard to turn a corner in the startup world today without running into an AI company. If our experiences with the recent Y Combinator batch were any evidence, we wouldn’t be shocked if there was an AI-powered startup attempting to build a solution to every major problem the world currently faces (we’re looking at you, GPT-powered world-hunger-solving Twitter thread authors).

The point is, cutting through the noise is hard. We sat down this week to find an AI company that really impressed us. Something that might not seem revolutionary on paper, but could change the way we consume the digital world around us. Enter Unitary. Content moderation AI isn’t new, but video content moderation with added context? We needed to investigate. Hope you enjoy this week’s cover!

- Ethan and Arek 🦄

AI-powered video content moderation

Unitary is enabling moderation of video content, including its components such as visual, audio, and textual signals, at scale. Unitary’s customers can access Unitary’s content classification platform through its APIs, and have their content labeled with tags like “Weapons,” “Hate Symbols,” and “Misinformation.” It offers features like real-time analysis, custom AI solutions per company, and industry compliance, among others.

🔗 Check it out: unitary.ai


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💰 Business Model

Unitary charges customers for access to its content moderation APIs.

📈 Traction and Fundraising

  • Raised $8 million seed round with investors like SGH Capital, January Ventures, Global Founder Capital, Plural (Ian Hogwarth), and various angels such as Matt Robinson (founder of GoCardless), Chris Mairs (former CTO of Metaswitch Networks) and marketing leader Carolyn Everson

  • Processes millions of videos and images daily and can scale to 5.5 billion images per day

👫 Founders

  • Sasha Haco, CEO: Previously Co-Founder @ Ditto Software, Theoretical Physics PhD @ Cambridge

  • James Thewlis, CTO: Previously Research Assistant @ Oxford, Research Assistant @ Facebook AI, Autonomous Intelligent Machines and Systems PhD @ Oxford, Computing MEng @ Imperial College London

📖 Founder Story

Unitary CEO Sasha Haco and CTO James Thewlis initially met through Entrepreneur First, a talent-driven incubator program. Haco was using physics and mathematics at Cambridge to solve the mysteries of the universe alongside Stephen Hawking. At the same time, Thewlis experienced the complexities of content moderation at both his job at Facebook and as a moderator on Reddit. It was ultimately their drive to solve pressing and complex societal issues that united them and led them to tackle the complicated challenge of building AI technologies capable of moderating harmful online content.

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💼 Opportunities

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🔮 Our Analysis

For years, social media networks have dealt with content moderation challenges. It wasn’t too long ago when YouTube’s content moderation shortcomings resulted in backlash from advertisers. Elon Musk’s Twitter is coming to grips with similar moderation, resulting in Elon open-sourcing Twitter’s algorithm. The problem is, social media networks can’t usually effectively address these problems at scale—they usually address all their content with subpar algorithms, or at a painstakingly slow rate with human moderation. The ideal solution would be to moderate content at scale with human-level accuracy. This is where Unitary comes in.

Unitary is addressing video content moderation. It claims that its algorithms can moderate content with human-level accuracy, and is currently processing millions of videos and images per day. One of its most powerful distinguishing features is that its AI models are context-aware, which means its AI can distinguish between content that might be considered harmful in one context but not harmful in another. Its offerings also extend to services like Detoxify, an open-source machine-learning model trained to identify and address toxic comments on videos.

Given its progress, the U.K.-based team is well-positioned to take on the content moderation space. Its recent funding round will enable further expansion of its service to the U.S., and the development of more catered content solutions for social media platforms.

📚 Further Reading

Written by the editors

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