Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

AI-generated content creation hub secures $4.2 million in seed funding

St. Petersburg-based Optiversal blazes the way for AI-based platforms to be human-forward.

  • By
  • | 5:00 a.m. June 9, 2023
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
Will Underwood says Optiversal's AI platform keeps a human element.
Will Underwood says Optiversal's AI platform keeps a human element.
Photo by Mark Wemple
  • Technology
  • Share

A recent push to utilize artificial intelligence for content creation has hit an inflection point for a St. Petersburg startup. One big example: It recently secured $4.2 million in an investment seed round. 

Will Underwood, co-founder of the company, Optiversal, bootstrapped the company for about a year and a half before seeing a recent surge in customers. Seeing an opportunity to accelerate growth, the company looked to raise capital earlier this year.

“It was an interesting time because some people were getting jitters about the economy and market in general,” he says. “But I think because we had some good traction and some great customers with big logos, we were successful in raising $4.2 million.” 

Using the capital, Optiversal has been growing — with five new engineers and plans to expand the sales and customer support team. Optiversal works with large retailers like Best Buy, Sephora and Petco to handle and scale content creation through AI capabilities. The platform creates landing pages, blog articles, product descriptions and other content has needed. 

Underwood previously founded another AI-focused startup called AddStructure that was focused on using AI to help large retailers understand review content easily. The company would pull insights from product reviews and use that to improve search capabilities.

AddStructure was acquired by Bazaarvoice in 2018, but Underwood stayed on for a while to build out the AI practice. Optiversal is an extension of what Underwood set out to do with AddStructure, but this go-around he’s added AI’s ability to create new content. 

“Finding that demand for content and using AI to create it automatically. That’s one area we help with,” he says. 

One of Underwood's core challenges is finding ways to create value in the firm's AI content — when everyone has the opportunity to churn out content themselves, “We have to always be creating new, higher quality content because now there’s all of these tools for people to create low quality content,” Underwood says.

Without people, Optiversal wouldn’t be able to create that content, and, in the process, achieve a major goal Underwood has for the business: to become the go-to content creation hub for the world’s largest brands and retailers.  

“We have a major human element,” he says. “We’re trying to create tools that help humans create high quality content, just much more efficiently. We never just mass generate a bunch of content and hope it’s good. We’re really about helping these human content teams with everything from coming up with new ideas for content to creating that first draft and then monitoring and optimizing it over time.”

“That’s the main thing is building it around humans instead of trying to replace them.” 


Latest News


Special Offer: Only $1 Per Week For 1 Year!

Your free article limit has been reached this month.
Subscribe now for unlimited digital access to our award-winning business news.
Join thousands of executives who rely on us for insights spanning Tampa Bay to Naples.