AI-powered visual moderation company Unitary has raised £12.4 million in Series A funding.

Led by co-founders Sasha Haco and James Thewlis, Unitary is developing AI technology that understands video the same way that humans can. 

By simultaneously analysing multiple signals, its machine learning technology is capable of understanding the content of videos and images, as well as the context in which they appear. 

This capability will be crucial as platforms adapt to new regulations like the UK’s Online Safety Bill, and the EU’s Digital Services Act, which will require more proactive moderation and action against illegal content, including child sexual abuse material.

Led by Creandum with participation from Paladin Capital Group and Plural, the investment comes as London-based Unitary launches across multiple languages, doubles the size of its team, and triples the number of daily videos it classifies from two to six million a day.

“Our vision is for ethical, empathetic AI to enhance how visual content is experienced online,” said CEO Haco.

“We’ve always focused on how we might be able to use AI to ensure a safer online experience, and keep up with the pace of internet content. 

“This funding enables us to stay at the forefront of video understanding research and fulfil our mission of making the internet better.”

Driven by complex video content that makes up 80% of internet traffic, the amount of information online is set to increase by a factor of ten between 2020 and 2025. Because the scale of this challenge is beyond human reviewers alone, Unitary has developed a machine learning solution to help platforms navigate nuance by analysing combinations of visual, aural, and textual content. 

To accelerate these efforts, Unitary will use this investment to bolster its research and development programmes, scale its team, and forge deep partnerships with the world’s leading social platforms and brand safety organisations. 

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Gemma Bloemen, principal at Creandum and Unitary board member, said: “We first met Sasha and James two years ago and have been incredibly impressed by the thoughtful way they have built their product and team since, and the way they have scaled and grown the business. 

“Unitary has emerged as clear early leaders in the important AI field of content safety, and we’re so excited to back this exceptional team as they continue to accelerate and innovate in content classification technology.” 

Ian Hogarth, partner at Plural and Unitary board member, said: “From the start, Unitary had some of the most powerful AI for classifying harmful content. Already this year, the company has accelerated to seven figures of ARR, almost unheard of at this early stage in the journey.

“It’s no wonder the team has been able to attract Series A investors so rapidly. We’re confident that this is the team that is set to redefine how we ensure visual content safety in the digital age.”

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