$11 million for AI-powered transcription solution Verbit, founded only a year ago by entrepreneurs Tom Livne (CEO), Eric Shellef (CTO) and Kobi Ben-Tzvi (VP of Engineering), has announced its first $11 million seed round led by Vertex ventures, Oryzn Capital and HV ventures in addition to its existing millions in revenues.Verbit operates in the professional transcription market, which has an estimated worth of tens of billions of dollars a year for its various connections to clients in the legal, education, media resources and medical fields.Traditional, transcription companies rely on manual work, resulting in expensive service costs and long turnaround times. At the same time fully automatic transcription only reaches an average accuracy rate of 70%, missing customer demands for professional, quality and 99.9% accurate transcription.Verbit has developed a solution that integrates automatic speech recognition algorithms with human augmented refinement. Any correction made by human transcribers contributes to and improves the Verbit algorithm through machine learning technologies. Currently, the company works with thousands of freelancers in over 20 countries.“One of our greatest achievements as a company is that we have created thousands of jobs that enable people to work from home in their own language. Even if they are physically located in third world countries, all that is needed in order to work with us is an internet connection, a computer and the passing of a transcription test accessible to everyone on our site,” said CEO Livne, a co-founder of the company.Because most of their transcription process takes place automatically, Verbit has a major competitive cost structure, he explained. As a direct result, the final price per customer is significantly lower than competitors, while ensuring the quality and delivery of the service at an exceptional speed. The company charges its customers according to the audio/video minutes it transcribes and already has connected with more than 50 customers including prestigious names such as: Comcast, Coursera, London Business School and more.With this round of financing, the company set aggressive growth targets and significantly expanded product capabilities. As such, Verbit plans to double their number of employees in Israel in the coming year, including sales and marketing staff machine-learning engineers, infrastructure engineers (DevOps).As Livne explained, these steps must be taken in order to realize the company’s vision: “to make the world’s verbal content accessible and searchable.”SilicoNegevBGU Startup competition Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Tech 7 innovation community, and the Meta Foundation for Development and Growth have launched the south’s biggest innovative entrepreneurship event with the SilicoNegevBGU competition for technological startups working in the Negev.The competition winner will be announced at the closing event, held on May 23 on the BGU campus during an entrepreneurship and financing day/event for young companies.The startup competition kicks off at the growing southern arena of the innovation industry in Israel. The southern competition will be open to technological startups from across the country that focus on the Negev region and are working to strengthen the Negev on national and international levels.Twenty startups out of those that registered for the competition will present their startups to the investors.Only five of these will go on to the final stage. The winner will win an investment of up to NIS 500,000, awarded by ‘Meta’ Foundation for Development and Growth.“The University is the beating heart of the developing innovation ecosystem of the Negev,” said Prof.Rivka Carmi, president of BGU. “For that reason, our joint venture with the SilicoNegevBGU event, which includes the most significant startup competition in the area, is natural.The University promotes entrepreneurship in the south through its Advanced Technologies Park, attracting international companies that raise the quality of jobs in the Negev region, as part of the vision of turning the Negev into the wellspring of innovation coming out of Israel.”Last year’s competition was won by Consis Medical, a company that is developing an innovative disposable colonoscopy device that is used for colon screening and is expected to significantly reduce the costs of gastrotherapy and treatments.Consis Medical, founded in 2016 by Oleg Popov and Raphael Moisa, co-founders and CEOs of the leading engineering company from Beersheba, IBEX Technologies, won the NIS 500,000 investment from Meta Foundation.