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Middle East

Israeli transcription company Verbit raises $157 mln, eyes 2022 listing

3 minute read

DUBAI, June 8 (Reuters) - Tel Aviv-headquartered transcription company Verbit said on Tuesday it had raised $157 million in its latest funding round, pushing its valuation to more than $1 billion before a potential public listing next year.

Established four years ago, Verbit uses artificial intelligence to provide automated transcription services including to media companies, courts and universities.

Chief Executive Tom Livne told Reuters the Series D funding would help finance acquisitions of transcription companies, develop new products and hire 200 staff, including personnel tasked with preparing for the listing.

"We have our unique acquisition strategy that we are mainly acquiring legacy transcription businesses. We are going to keep executing and actually doubling down," he said by phone.

Series D round for startups is generally for financing a special situation, such as a merger or acquisition.

Verbit, which says it is generating close to $100 million in annual revenue, announced in May it had acquired Vitac, whose website says it is North America's largest captioning provider.

Livne said, based on Verbit's current growth trajectory, the company could be generating almost $200 million in annual revenue by the time of a potential listing in the second quarter next year.

Technology company valuations have soared over the past year as investors bet more economic activity will become digitally automated and shift online as a result of the pandemic.

Livne said the company would most likely pursue a "traditional" listing but was also considering going public through a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), a blank-check firm that seeks to merge with a privately owned entity.

He said a listing could be pushed back in favour of another private funding round, saying the company could be worth as much as $3 billion by mid-2022.

Investors in the latest funding round included Sapphire Ventures, Third Point, Oryzn Capital and Viola Ventures. Verbit says it has raised $250 million in funding to date, including debt.

Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Edmund Blair

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