Israeli startup Cortica, developer of advanced photo identification technology, will be used by Mail.ru to optimize its ad strategy for its customers
Israeli startup, Cortica, which develops photo identification technologies, announced the completion of a round of funding for $6.4M. The round was led by Horizons Ventures – the venture capital fund of billionaire, Li Ka Shing, Mail.ru Group – the investment arm of Mail.ru focusing primarily on Israeli startups, and several other angels.
Another level of image recognition
This is the company’s series ‘B’ round, after an initial seed round in 2007 brought in $4.5M from private investors and the Technion Institute of Israel (where the company was initially founded), and a series ‘A’ round added an an additional $7M, also led by Horizons Ventures, as well as Ynon Kreiz – former CEO of the Endemol Group, before its restructuring under its new management of the Apollo Global Group. The current round will bring Cortica’s total funding to nearly $18M.
Cortica’s photo identification product, CorTex, specializes in identifying objects in images and multimedia clips using a computerized process which mimics the behavior of human neural networks. The technology is capable of interpreting the content appearing in videos, photos and other multimedia clips. An additional Cortica technology is called Image2Text, which can recognize and automatically pull concepts and key elements from images and videos, map them to textual keywords, and sort them according to their relevance, when taken from the same media.
Mail.ru on Cortica
Mor Yegerman, General Manager at Mail.ru, said in an interview with Geektime, that Cortica’s technology is not only of interest to investors, but also of other major companies in the industry, “We met with Cortica a few months ago, and we were most impressed with the potential of their technology. At Mail.ru, we invest in two main areas; consumer technologies and breakthrough technologies. Cortica’s technology will be integrated into the Mail.ru service, which contains a large amount of images, helping us to better understand our user base and approach them with relevant advertisements, reducing the amount of spam in the service.”
Cortico was founded in 2007 by a group of researchers from the Technion University in Haifa, Israel. Among them are Yehoshua Zeevi, Karina Odinaev and Igal Raichelgauz. The company currently employs close to 50 people spread across three offices; two based in Israel and one in California. Raichelgauz, the President and CEO of Cortica, stated that “Mail.ru shares our vision for leveraging Image2Text technology for visual search and contextual advertising and taking users’ web surfing experience to a whole new level.”
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