Aside from the debate about what this will do for our jobs, it is clear that we are at an inflection point to integrate AI into the creative industries. And VCs are already opening their wallets.
But which companies will define this radical change? We asked investors for their top picks. The only catch – they couldn’t come from the wallet.
From AI-powered photo editors to writing a hit song without any talent, here are 12 creative AI startups that investors believe could have an impact in the future.
Fredrik Cassel, general partner at Creandum
Founded in 2003, Creandum is a pan-European company start-up venture capital firm. The fund’s portfolio of more than 120 companies includes companies from a wide range of industries such as Spotify, Klarna, Depop and creative AI startups Kive and Craft.
Based in the UK, Yepic AI speeds up the process of producing professional videos without the need for specialized training. The process involves the user writing a script and choosing an avatar to play it – and the software generates a talking video from those prompts. The software can also dub live video into eight different languages and plans to launch a studio that companies can integrate into their own programs.
Creaiton seeks to help product designers discover and develop new products by generating unique inspiration images that users can save, edit and combine, or transform with existing designs. It adapts the offered images to the requirements of each user by learning their needs – so, for example, it will give a shoe designer mockups of sneakers and models that can be transformed together to create a product containing elements of both prompts.
Eze Vidra, Managing Partner at Remagine Ventures
Remagine Ventures is a seed and pre-seed company, investing in gaming, entertainment and consumer technology, and the technologies that power the future of these sectors. Until now, Remagine Ventures has focused solely on Israel – but from 2023 it will extend that focus to the UK. Notable AI companies in the portfolio include Syte.ai (visual search), Vault AI (predictive analytics) and HourOne (generative AI for video).
Stability AI, founded by Emad Mostaque, has raised $100 million in seed funding and is developing open-source solutions to put generative AI tools in the hands of users and developers. A team of AI experts from around the world are working on a range of product offerings hosted on the platform, from generating images to producing more accessible music.
This London-based startup seeks to automate parts of the product design process to increase efficiency and reduce costs, while freeing designers from menial aspects of the job to focus on the parts of the process they value most . It hasn’t launched yet but its manifesto emphasizes that the software will make it easier to design products to become a collaborative “human-machine hybrid”.
VoiceMod started out as a voice modifier for games but later evolved into an AI voice generator that can be included in live streams, games, and social media. Voice filters create “sound identities” created by professional actors, and although the software has been designed to accommodate English, other languages are also supported.
Nathan Benaich, General Partner at Air Street Capital
Air Street Capital invests in seed-stage AI-focused technology and life science companies across Europe and North America. Air Street’s portfolio includes Adept, Allcyte (acquired by Exscientia), Intenseye, Modern Intelligence, V7 and ZOE.
Descript lets you edit audio and video as if you were working in a word processor. The software runs text-to-speech to generate an editable transcription and automatically removes filler words. Moreover, if it turns out that a few words were wrong in your audio, you can replace them in your transcription and the software will generate the corresponding audio in your voice to iron out the errors.
PhotoRoom is an AI-based photo studio hosted on your phone. Users can photograph an object, remove its background, clean up unwanted aspects of the image, generate a custom background using a text-to-image prompt, adjust shadows, and format the photo for online publishing – all within the app and from the convenience of their phone.
Cradle equips protein engineers with AI-powered design tools. Users can predict the 3D structure of a protein and generate a range of new sequences from a starting point, using a set of optimized parameters they have in mind. Just as AI is used to generate images and videos, it is now being put to work designing therapeutic and industrial proteins to bring this creative potential into scientific contexts.
Sivesh Sukumar — analyst at Balderton Capital
Balderton Capital is a venture capital firm focused on supporting technology companies founded in Europe. Previous investments include Depop (acquired by Etsy), Digital Surgery (acquired by Medtronic), and Beauty Pie, and he recently invested in creative AI startups PhotoRoom and Levity.
Based in London, Synthesis allows users to create studio-quality video content from simple text prompts. While the cost and complexity of professional video production would often only be considered if the return on investment was particularly high and the available budget existed, Synthesia’s simpler alternative offers companies a cheaper way to produce AI-powered content marketing without expensive resources.
Creative AI used to focus on building, training, and deploying models, but we are moving towards a future based on ready-to-use models. Now, the focus will be on user experience and building native AI apps that allow users without AI expertise to use these models. Dust is an open-source platform that helps developers build native AI apps from scratch. For example, one of the community-created apps available right now is a program designed to write personalized wedding thank you cards based on brief prompts.
The “Copilot for X” business model is one of the most exciting in AI today, where the AI learns from the context of a file and can offer suggestions or generate responses from those clues. Glyphic builds an AI-based co-pilot for B2B sales reps, with the goal of minimizing time spent on repetitive tasks. One of the tasks it seeks to automate is the work of scripting complex customer chats and queries, to help sales teams navigate those conversations more efficiently.
Most of the low-hanging fruit opportunities in creative AI are in language generation, primarily because natural language processing (NLP) models are currently among the most advanced. When building an AI application, companies need to balance accuracy, cost, and speed in their models.
Although the ideas are still quite young, precision is the main goal for most companies, but when the maximum level of precision is finally achieved, it will all be a question of cost and speed. Tytn envisions this next step with its toolkit set to launch in 2023, which will reduce the time it takes to launch an NLP application from months to just days.
Sadia Nowshin is an editorial assistant at Sifted. She tweets from @sadianowshin_