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Unitary raises £12m for AI content moderation

Unitary Series A
Unitary co-founders Sasha Haco and James Thewlis

AI content moderation startup Unitary today has raised $15m (£12.3m) in a Series A round after doubling its headcount.

The London-based startup is developing content moderation software that uses machine learning to understand if a photo or video contains potentially harmful content.

The company said its technology mimics human moderation as it can understand the context in which specific content appears.

“Our vision is for ethical, empathetic AI to enhance how visual content is experienced online,” said Sasha Haco, co-founder and CEO of Unitary.

“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.”

Creandum led the Unitary Series A round, with Paladin Capital Group and Plural underpinning.

Ian Hogarth, a partner at Plural and recently appointed chair of the government’s new AI taskforce, said the rapid growth of revenue from Unitary was “almost unheard of at this early stage”.

According to Hogarth, the firm is already pulling in “seven figures of annual recurring revenue”, a feat which he said led to the latest funding coming so shortly after the startup raised £6.7m in March.

Besides the new funding, Unitary says it is now analysing six million videos every day and has expanded into more languages.

The mass moderation of online content has become a key topic in the UK following the approval of the Online Safety Bill last month by the House of Lords. It will grant Ofcom the ability to punish tech firms for hosting harmful content.

Read more: How Arwen is using AI to combat online hate speech.