Movio wants to make your marketing videos with generative AI • TechCrunch

Generative AI is suddenly everywhere. In the past year, you’ve probably seen people displaying impressive AI-generated artwork, thanks to advances in text-to-image algorithms introduced by groups like OpenAI and Stability AI. A proliferation of startups is now trying to come up with applications for this new language model, where the machine is able to create new text, images and videos based on simple human input.

One of them is Movement, a two-year-old startup that uses generative AI along with other machine learning frameworks like GAN to create videos featuring talking human avatars. The platform goes after marketers with a Canva-style drag-and-drop interface. Users choose from a range of templates first, whether it’s a theme for a shopping site or a trip to Japan. They can then add a hyper-realistic avatar as the ‘spokesperson’ of the video, with speech generated by text input. The outfit, face and voice of the AI-made human can be changed with a click.

Movio’s user base is currently in the hundreds of thousands, with paying customers close to 1,000. It has raised approximately $9 million in funding to date from investors including IDG, Sequoia Capital China and most recently Baidu Ventures. Xu met his co-founder and CFO Liang Wang, a veteran of ByteDance and the social music network Smule, while the two were studying at Carnegie Mellon University.

Last year we discussed how Movio, then called Surreal, provided a brilliant use case for deepfake. At the time, the company was based in Shenzhen, the hardware haven also known for its vibrant, export-led e-commerce industry — most of Amazon’s sellers are from the metropolis. Salespeople used Movio to create promo videos narrated by synthesized humans, eliminating the need to hire actual models.

Movio recently relocated to Los Angeles, where the co-founder and CEO Josh Xu previously worked as a Snap engineer for six years. That’s because the startup hopes to catch the wave of marketers warming up to AI tools to support their work.

“We do what Jasper and do, except for video production,” Xu told TechCrunch, citing two of the best AI content helpers today. “Videos are powerful – imagine if marketers could send emails with talking human avatars instead of plain text.”

Movio can only synthesize talking heads for now, but it’s working towards a future where its algorithms can generate full-body movements, bringing the company closer to its goal of being an “all-in-one AI video production platform.” . ”

The startup charges users based on the length of the videos, which correlates with the script they submit, as well as a premium fee from those who use custom faces, a feature Xu says is especially popular for “corporate training.” Movio has also opened up its API to third-party websites, some of which use the engine to create pop-up avatars for customer support.

“AI-generated video is only a small segment within the AIGC [AI generated content] industry. We’ve seen how much text-to-image can do, and I expect that text-to-video will be even more of a nuisance when it’s done,” said Xu.

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