VCs write cheque for robot reporter start-up Automated Insights

13 Feb 2015

A start-up that creates artificial intelligence (AI) capable of writing news reports has been acquired by the venture firm Vista Equity Partners, with aims of expanding its scope of automated writing.

Automated Insights, founded in 2007, had struck a number of lucrative deals with a number of organisations, including the Associated Press (AP), Yahoo! and Comcast, to generate automatic reports on data-heavy stories, including business, marketing and personal fitness.

According to its latest statistics, Automated Insights is producing as many as 1bn articles per year using its Wordsmith (AI) program, which has been continually developed to make it appear more human.

While the company’s CEO and founder Robbie Allen refused to be drawn into how much Automated Insights made in the deal, the company did confirm the deal will enable it to expand its remit to other areas of journalism, particularly sports, given that Vista Equity Partners also recently acquired STATS – a sports data and analysis company with Automated Insights joining its ranks.

The news of the purchase of Automated Insights came as a surprise to analysts, and even the company itself, given that Automated Insights raised US$5.5m in Series B funding as early as last summer.

“This acquisition gives us the resources to double down on our investment in Wordsmith. We will continue to expand and grow our existing relationships and add new customers,” Allen wrote in a blog post.

Robot at a keyboard image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic