Startup using AI to moderate online content raises £6.7m

Unitary Image credit: Unitary

Online content moderation startup Unitary has raised $8m (£6.7m) from Plural and various angel investors, including former Facebook executive Carolyn Everson.

Unitary’s computer vision model aims to automate content moderation for social networks, advertising and media businesses.

Unitary’s founders Sasha Haco and James Thewlis originally met in 2019 on Entrepreneur First’s accelerator programme.

“Online platforms can’t handle the complexity of moderating these billions of daily images, videos and other posts, whilst human moderation has proven to be ineffective at dealing with the volume of content as well as being largely harmful to those involved,” said Haco, who is also CEO of Unitary.

Haco previously worked on the black hole information paradox during her PhD with Steven Hawking. Thewlis has previous experience at Facebook AI Research.

Unitary says its AI can be used by companies to analyse up to 25,000 video frames a second.

Everson spent more than a decade at Facebook, now Meta, overseeing its advertising business as vice president of global marketing solutions.

“Sasha and James have chosen to tackle one of modern society’s hardest problems and we are in awe of their intellect and determination,” said Ian Hogarth, founding partner at Plural.

“As more and more cameras are connected to the internet, we will need ever more intelligent tools to organise that content and make it harder for bad actors to operate.”

Hogarth launched the Plural investment fund last year alongside founders including Wise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus.