Consumers have become very accustomed to receiving personalized emails from companies, for example offering them a special deal, urging them to renew a subscription or simply thanking them for their support. But what if you could send personalized videos to your customers in the same way – addressing them a personal greeting from someone in your company, a well-known endorser or brand ambassador? That is the technology that the Californian start-up is now offering Gan.aiwhich today announced a $5.25 million funding round.
Gan.ai was founded in March 2021 by Suvrat Bhooshan, who had previously worked on Facebook’s artificial intelligence (AI) research team. Mondelez, and even sports teams. “Personalization and targeted reach almost always improve conversion rates, but there wasn’t an easy way to do this scalable with videos,” explains Bhooshan. “We wanted to solve this problem.”
The technology may be advanced, but the idea is simple enough. Companies that want to reach customers only need to record one video with the message they want to convey. Gan.ai’s technology can then create personalized versions of that video for any customer the company wants to contact; it replicates the voice of the person making the video and adjusts their lip movements in each version so that what customers receive feels completely human. In each video, the company can address each customer by name and customize other variables to fit the purpose of the message.
Bhooshan says the impact of personalized video has been huge so far. Customers who receive a video are five times more likely to watch it than customers who receive a general message, he claims. Conversion rates on campaigns can be up to 10 times higher. An Indian cricket team has even used the technology to send personalized videos of players to fans commenting on their Instagram feed, generating tens of thousands of comments.
An early adopter of Gan.ai’s tools, the Mobile Premier League gaming platform, is certainly impressed. “We shoot videos with influencers and celebrities and now, with Gan.ai, they call your name and give you a personalized call to action,” explains Tejnoor Grover, a senior manager at the company. “We saw a quintuple increase in our video completion rate, a tripling of our open rates, and a 1.5-fold increase in our click-through rate.”
Gan.ai believes its technology represents a significant advancement in a fast-growing field. The global generative AI video market was worth about $470 million last year, according to Grand View Research, but is expected to grow at a 20% annualized rate between 2023 and 2030.
The competition is increasing, but according to Bhooshan, Gan.ai is one of the few companies making videos with real videos. If you want your CEO to present your video, his technology can make it happen; if you’ve hired influence from a celebrity, that’s okay too. Competing and better-known companies, including Synthesia and HourOne, on the other hand, create avatars to present their videos – these are virtual people, albeit often very convincing and impressive.
Gan.ai’s approach is technically demanding, says Bhooshan, but rewarding if you do it right. “It’s a much more difficult problem to match the voice tonality and texture on both sides to not appear edited, and similarly to change the lip movements to match the new audio, while the rest of the video remains unchanged,” he explains. “People notice changes very quickly, so the bar for quality is much higher.”
The company’s money-making strategy is to offer two versions of the product. Large corporate customers looking for the highest quality production values pay a higher price, while a cheaper self-service option is aimed at smaller companies making their first video with a webcam. The service also comes with analytics tools to help clients assess the impact of their campaigns.
With new funding now available, Gan.ai hopes to accelerate its expansion, with its seed funding earmarked for expanding its tech team and investing in its go-to-market business. The $5.25 million round was led by Surge and Sequoia Capital India and Southeast Asia, with participation from Emergent Ventures and a number of angel investors.
The company has also received support from non-financial donors. It was named as one of the 200 Technologies of the Future at TechCrunch Disrupt 2022 and is a member of Stanford University’s StartX cohort for 2023.