Generative AI Video Startup HeyGen Raises $5.6M

HeyGen, an AI startup powering video creation through natural language prompts, has raised $5.6 million in a funding round Tuesday, coinciding with new product launches to boost personalization. The Los Angeles-based firm also reported surging annual recurring revenue of $18 million as of October – nearly 20 times up since March.

HeyGen Video

Conviction Ventures led the capital infusion, and partner Sarah Guo will assume a board seat as part of the deal. The round values HeyGen at $75 million. Founded in late 2020, HeyGen allows easy generation of custom videos by typing text descriptions rather than intensive editing. Users can also create AI avatars powered by the startup’s proprietary models.

CEO and co-founder Joshua Xu believes HeyGen taps a wellspring moment for AI symbiotically enhancing video production – much like Snapchat and Instagram sparked smartphone photography proliferation. HeyGen originally required professional photo shoots to craft bespoke avatars rendered in videos but can now generate them fully automatically from smartphone selfies in minutes rather than days.

The breakthrough showcases improvements to HeyGen’s core AI architecture, leading to greater accessibility. Users can choose from over 100 off-the-shelf avatar options as well. The startup integrates various AI engines – its own for video, OpenAI and Anthropic for language, and ElevenLabs for audio – into a seamless experience.

HeyGen has focused primarily on business use cases like marketing and training materials representing persistent video needs. Xu said the new avatar product opens up possibilities for consumer creativity to expand TikTok and YouTube presences. The startup expects strong enterprise uptake as well based on hockey stick growth since launching its AI video workflows. Early customers span industries like retail, healthcare, and education. HeyGen recently hired its first salespeople to supplement viral adoption and will double its 25-person headcount in 2023 to deepen enterprise relationships in particular.

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