Breakout Startups #12- Descript

The product taking over the Podcast Community

Hi, This is Ankit here.

In the 12th edition of Breakout Startups Memos, we are profiling Descript, the company aiming to make “editing audio as easy as as editing a document”.

Image result for descript logo

What is Descript?

Descript is building the next generation platform for creative tools, making audio and video creation as fast, accessible, and collaborative as Google Docs.

How did Descript start?

The company began as an internal tool at Detour, the company Andrew Mason and Co. were working on before selling it off to Bose.

https://medium.com/descript/introducing-descript-fa37eb193819

 In the blog post announcing Descript, Andrew Mason wrote,

We wanted to make it possible for anyone to record and edit audio for Detour, but the popular audio production tools were designed primarily for music production, and had a high learning curve.

It occurred to us that it’d be easier and faster to work with audio if you could edit text instead of waveforms. We did some research, and found that automated transcription and text/audio alignment were reaching a technological tipping point where the concept was perhaps viable.

We quickly built a v1 and started showing it to audio producers, at which point we realized that just about everyone who has worked with audio has independently had the same idea, and indeed spent a portion of every day cursing its non-existence. Because, of course people would rather edit text than waveforms. The technology just didn’t exist.

For the last two and a half years, we’ve been working arm-in-arm with audio producers to evolve Descript into their voice audio’s best friend. As the product matured, we realized that Descript shouldn’t remain subservient to Detour — it needed to chart its own course.

With this in mind, we decided to spin out Descript as a separate company, and raised $5M in seed financing from Andreesen Horowitz, with Alex Rampell joining our board.

Since its launch, the product has been getting great review from its users. Here are some anecdotes 😄

The product video of Descript totally deserves a mention. This is perhaps one of the best product videos our team has watched. See it for yourself!

Team

Descript has a star-studded team:

1. Andrew Mason: Founder and CEO, Descript. Previously:Founder, Groupon[Public Company] and Detour.com[acquired]

2. Sophie Hinkley: Chief Of Staff at Descript, Previously:Groupon and Detour.com

3. Steve Rubin: Software Engineer at Descript, Previously: Detour.com, PhD in human-computer interaction from UCB

4. Andy Anderegg: Head of Content at Descript, Co-Founder of The Bent

Market Landscape

Podcasting has taken off in the past few years. With the Spotify acquisition of Gimlet and Anchor earlier this year, we are seeing a new wave of products related to Podcasting.

Audio-First - Spotify
More than 10 years ago we founded Spotify to give consumers something they couldn't get - music any time, anywhere, and…newsroom.spotify.com

Not only several new podcast players such as Luminary[aiming to build Netflix of Podcasts] and Breaker[Social Podcast App] have come onto the scene but there several players in the other segments of Podcasting industry have come up.

Podcast wars: $100 million startup Luminary launches Tuesday without Reply All or The Daily
The subscription podcast startup Luminary launches on April 23rd with shows from Trevor Noah, Karamo Brown, Lena…www.theverge.com

Breaker - podcast listening & discovery
Listen to the best new podcast episodes with Breaker. Follow your friends to see what they're listening to, and…www.breaker.audio

Not only this, the number of creators are on the rise. Given, as easy as it is to create a podcast and publish it to platforms such as Spotify, Google Podcasts with the help of Anchor.

Anchor - The easiest way to make a podcast
Create, distribute, host, and monetize your podcast, 100% free.anchor.fm

These are definitely exciting times for the Podcasting Industry and there couldn’t be a better time to launch a tool such as Descript. 

The product is estimated to have $1M in revenue annually. 

The product has already been generating some noise in the space from podcasters.

Descript does not have any direct competition right now. However, a product such as Otter.ai can be a future competitor if they shift their focus to Podcasting Industry. Currently, the product is focused on professionals but can be a potential competitor in the near future.

Funding

  1. Descript has raised $20M in funding till date. 

  2. The company raised $5M in a seed round led by Andressen Horowitz in 2017. 

  3. Very recently, with the launch of Descript Studio, the raised a SeriesA of $15M led by a16z and Redpoint Ventures.

  4. The company also acquiredLyrebird, a synthetic voice generation company during its Series A raise. 

Andrew Mason's Descript snags $15M, acquires Lyrebird to let users type text to create audio in…
The boom in popularity for podcasting has given a new voice to the world of spoken word content that had been largely…techcrunch.com

Jobs at Descript

Software QA at Descript - https://jobs.xpo.network/b/k6kzcc/view
Software Engineer (AI) at Descript - https://jobs.xpo.network/b/ug2rir/view
Product Manager at Descript - https://jobs.xpo.network/b/kmxcuv/view
Sr. Software Engineer at Descript - https://jobs.xpo.network/b/ewctq6/view
Software Engineer at Descript - http://jobs.xpo.network/b/w3fp3g/view


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