WINTER GARDEN, FLORIDA 9 AM ET JUNE 20—Orson, a story-as-a-service startup, officially announced today that it has raised $3 million to deepen its investment in generative AI and the science of video storytelling to help users build meaningful human connections. The new investment, raised from a group of private investors, including Cyan Banister and Long Journey Ventures, will also be used to scale up automated video storytelling platform StoryStrip’s technology and to support new product development in generative AI.
“Despite this being the most connected era in human history, we are actually more disconnected from each other than ever before,” said Orson Founder John Ehrhard, the co-owner and executive producer of OAKZ Media, a pioneering unscripted TV production company. “There’s a huge lack of empathy and connection across humanity, which manifests itself in schools, dating pools, offices, homes, literally everywhere. Technology is now allowing us to live in a digital first world at arm’s length from each other while the soft skills that real connections are built on, like empathy, atrophy. Orson wants to change that by leveraging the power of generative AI, and the team’s vast background in helping people tell their stories for television, to help humans be more human.”
Created in 2020 by Ehrhard, Orson has automated the process of video storytelling with Orson’s AI-enabled Director and its StoryStrip technology. Orson makes creating compelling video easy, and is designed to integrate into clients’ platforms to help them deepen relationships with their customers and create new revenue streams. Orson fully automates unscripted video-making by conducting interviews, crafting stories, and automatically editing and scoring to create compelling episodes with music, imagery and graphics. For clients, Orson’s videos translate into more engagement—and revenues; for end users, Orson’s videos translate into a way to tell their story and build authentic connections.
Eli Weinstock-Herman, Orson’s CTO and technical co-founder, explained how and why Orson will use the new funding:
“This funding helps us continue to expand from our beta last fall, adding new storytelling capabilities, expanding to more audiences, and continuing to develop AI capabilities for our automated director.
Weinstock-Herman, a technical leader at four startups and a distinguished engineer with more than two decades of experience, added: “We are giving every group of friends, family, or team a virtual, automated production team to help tell their story.”
Orson, which has raised $8 million in total funding, also plans to invest in its story science team as well as its platform sales and marketing teams. Further, the funds will be used to support the launch of a new, soon-to-be-released product.
Carl Ryden, Chair of the Orson Board of Directors and Co-Founder of PrecisionLender, discussed why he and other investors believe in Orson.
“Everyone’s got a story, but not all can tell it right,” said Ryden. “That’s where John and his Orson team step in. They’re on a mission to transform ordinary tales into moving narratives that resonate. Backed by funding, a dedicated team, and the latest tech, they’re changing the game of storytelling for everyone. In a world craving personal connections, Orson’s use of AI, cloud computing, and the impressive cameras in our pockets is addressing this need like never before.”
Robert Fredrick, an Orson Board Member, shared his thoughts on the impact Orson will have.
“The Orson team being assembled is full of rock stars who have been focused on compelling and engaging content and editing for decades,” said Frederick, a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Amazon Anywhere and Amazon Web Services.
“The creation of Story as a Service generative APIs and User Interfaces that allow 3rd parties to embed broadcast quality video content into their existing mobile and web offerings is a game changer that will impact the social media, e-commerce, sports, news, and education verticals.”
Orson is the first generative AI platform created to enhance human connection by facilitating the sharing of one’s authentic self through video storytelling. Founded in 2020, Orson was developed by unscripted film and TV experts with more than two decades of experience documenting over 50,000 hours of real people’s stories. Using AI-enabled directors and its StoryStrip™ technology, Orson’s video storytelling process is fully automated and scalable, allowing for powerful narratives and story-driven video to be created through interviews with people. Orson’s Story-as-a-Service was designed to integrate with partner platforms and communities to create product extensions and new revenue streams that increase user engagement and create deeper human connection.
For more information about Orson, visit https://heyorson.com/.