A San Francisco-based technology firm that seeks to help content creators track and monetize their work in the age of generative AI is bucking a venture capital drought.
(Bloomberg) — A San Francisco-based technology firm that seeks to help content creators track and monetize their work in the age of generative AI is bucking a venture capital drought.
Story Protocol raised $54 million from a group of investors led by Andreessen Horowitz that includes Hashed, Endeavor, Samsung Next, TPG Capital founder David Bonderman and Paris Hilton’s 11:11 media.
The cash injection will allow Story Protocol to launch its blockchain-based technology in the first half of next year, according to co-founder Jason Zhao.
Andreessen received equity in the company as well as the right to buy digital tokens should the company decide to issue them, according to a spokesman, though Zhao said there are currently no definite plans to do so. Story Protocol declined to disclose its valuation.
Investments in cryptocurrency startups have slumped after digital asset prices tumbled and regulators cracked down on the sector, but venture capitalists are racing to back artificial intelligence companies instead. Interest has been turbocharged by the arrival of OpenAI’s ChatGPT platform and similar tools, which lured millions of users, sparking a surge in remixes and mashups online — as well as lawsuits from copyright holders.
In response to this and to the general rise in online content creation, Story Protocol is building a blockchain-based repository of intellectual property for all types of content, including prose, images and audio. An author might register their novel with the repository, then use connected applications to sell licensing rights to translate the work, create spin-offs or expand it into new mediums.
“In a year or two the level of remixed content through GenAI is going to be so much higher,” Zhao’s fellow co-founder Seung-Yoon Lee, said in an interview.
Lee, who previously founded mobile serial fiction platform Radish, cited the example of a viral song that used AI-generated versions of the voices of artists Drake and the Weeknd, before Universal Music Group moved to shut it down.
“You can’t go and cease and desist everything,” Lee said.
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