Automated Insights raises $5.5 million, lands deal with AP

Posted by David Ranii on June 30, 2014 

Automated Insights, a fast-growing producer of computer-generated content, is benefiting from a new $5.5 million round of funding and a new deal with the Associated Press.

The Durham-based company plans to use its latest round of funding, which pushes its total capital raised to date to $10.8 million, to continue to build up its staff and expand into new markets, said Adam Smith, vice president of business development and marketing.

Today the company has about 35 employees, up from 20 last September.

“We’re looking to continue to grow,” Smith said, adding that the company had no specific hiring target. “We’re always looking for developers. We’re always looking for data scientists. We’re also growing our sales and marketing team.”

Automated Insights just moved into more than 7,000 square feet of space in Durham’s American Tobacco Campus — double its previous space — that gives it room to expand.

Its latest funding was led by Osage Venture Partners, a Pennsylvania venture capital fund. Among the other investors was Samsung Venture Investment Corp, Steve Case, the co-founder of AOL, and Triangle venture capital firm IDEA Fund Partners.

Automated Insights was founded in 2007 by CEO Robbie Allen, a former Cisco Systems engineer. The company anticipates its patented Wordsmith technology, which converts raw data into narrative content, will enable it to produce more than 1 billion — yes, that’s billion, not million — “personalized reports” for clients. For example, it provides millions of “owners” of fantasy football teams with personalized game reports through its partnership with Yahoo, the No. 1 host of fantasy football, and others.

The latest funding was announced the same day that The Associated Press, one of the world’s largest media organizations, unveiled a deal that calls for Automated Insights to provide it with thousands of corporate earnings reports each quarter.

Up to now, AP reporters have manually written about 300 earnings reports quarterly. But, beginning in July, Automated Insights will provide up to 4,400 earnings reports each quarter, according to a blog post by Paul Colford, the AP’s director of media relations.

AP doesn’t plan on cutting jobs, however.

“This is about using technology to free journalists to do more journalism and less data processing, not about eliminating jobs,” Colford wrote.

Rather than focusing on the nuts-and-bolts of a company’s earnings, “our journalists will focus on reporting and writing stories about what the numbers mean and what gets said in earnings calls on the day of the release, identifying trends and finding exclusive stories we can publish at the time of the earnings reports,” Colford stated.

AP is a not-for-profit cooperative whose stories are available to all its members — 1,400 daily newspapers nationwide, as well as thousands of TV and radio stations.

“Obviously, there is no bigger name in syndication and news than The Associated Press,” Smith said. “It is tremendously validating.”

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