Realeyes, a London-based video marketing startup, has raised a $16.2 million Series B led by London-based Draper Esprit, according to TechCrunch. Other participants in the round included Harbert European Growth Capital and Karma Ventures.
Founded in 2007, Realeyes’ software essentially taps into viewers’ computer webcams to analyze slight changes in facial expressions in reaction to marketing videos with the help of AI. (Don’t worry, according to TechCrunch’s report, the technology is used on a small cohort of viewers, on an opt-in basis.)
According to Crunchbase, this is the company’s first round since it raised an $814,000 grant in 2015. Prior to that injection of capital, the company had raised a $1.2 million grant in 2011 followed by a $6 million Series A in 2013 led by Entrepreneurs Fund and Tera Ventures. The latest round brings its aggregate funds raised to $24.2 million.
Facial recognition and artificial intelligence are common buzzwords in the tech and venture world, with companies using advanced computer vision technology to direct things like autonomous vehicles. China-based Sensetime is currently the most famous (and funded) of the bunch, as it raised $600 million Series C led by Alibaba in April, making it the most valuable AI startup in the world with a valuation over $4.5 billion. According to recent reports, Alibaba and Sensetime are even partnering to launch an artificial intelligence lab in Hong Kong.
While Sensetime deals in industries like facial recognition for high-profile uses like surveillance by the Chinese government, other startups are using similar technology to solve more real-world problems. Just yesterday, Crunchbase News reported that Nanit, an Israel and New York-based company, raised $14 million to use computer vision to provide parents with data about their babies’ sleeping habits. We also reported that Alloy.ai raised $12 million to help businesses manage their supply chains, and Beautiful.ai raised $11 million to help ordinary people solve their issues with presentation creation.
As companies in more mainstream industries like fintech, baby tech, and healthcare continue to use advanced technology for practical applications, AI is becoming less of a novelty and more of a necessity. For now, VCs are eager to support companies pioneering the shift toward that new reality.
iStockPhoto / Amiak
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