See the original story in Japanese.
Tokyo-based Spectee, the startup behind the platform offering news materials based on social media analytics, announced today that it has secured series A funding. This round was led by Fuji Startup Ventures (FSV for short), the investment arm of Tokyo-based private broadcaster Fuji TV, with participation from Japanese investment firm Mizuho Capital not to mention CBC, the company behind a globally-renowned CCTV system brand called Ganz. Further financial details of the deal have not been disclosed.
Spectee was founded under the previous name of Euclid Lab in February of 2014, followed by graduation from the 11th incubation batch of Tokyo-based startup accelerator Open Network Lab in October of 2015. This March, the team launched a new service called Newsdeck, curating images and video clips for live events from social media and offering copyright clearance for use by broadcasters and news organizations, similar to Banjo in the US. The artificial intelligence (AI) technology for analyzing curated image and video clips is now pending patent.
Spectee is now offering the Newsdeck service to more than 15 platforms in Japan such as TV broadcasters and online news media sites. Of particular note is the fact that Fuji TV’s news department has been testing Newsdeck, in preparing for adoption as a platform for fulfilling the core function of the broadcaster’s online news coverage department, which was established this month. The company has also partnered with Fuji TV Lab, planning to launch business involving image/video clip curation and “affairs mining” through integration of the Spectee platform into the broadcaster’s system for accepting video clip and image posting from viewers.
Considering the example of aforementioned Banjo plus that of the Associated Press (AP) which recently began generating news articles using Automated Insights’ WordSmith technology, AI is expanding the range of its applications to the news industry. In particular this year, not only curation of news articles but also generation of original text as well as news material gathering are becoming automated with such technology. Since it is said that AI-powered news generation usually goes well with news categories dealing with figures or stats, such as reporting sport game results or a fact-finder news piece, the one like this article could also be generated using an automated “writing program” in the future.
By coincidence similar to the writer team structure of The Bridge in terms of locations, Spectee has added new personnel in Berlin and Los Angeles in addition to Tokyo this month in order to manage the distribution of news materials on the Newsdeck platform and gaining approvals from social media users who posted images of live events that are likely to be used by news media outfits. Applying the three-location structure enables 24-hour nonstop operations by distributing employees according to their local time zone.
The CBC Group, one of the companies that Spectee has fundraised from, has many sales offices outside Japan while earning its primary revenue from global sales. Spectee is looking to gain assistance from CBC in selling the Newsdeck solution to TV broadcasters around the globe.
Disclosure: Fuji Startup Ventures has invested in The Bridge.
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy