This past year has been anything but boring for Israeli computer vision startup AnyVision. After multiple funding rounds, a media covered scandal regarding operations in the Palestinian territories, leading to Microsoft backing out of its investment and numerous following layoffs. Today (Friday), the company announces a new $43 million investment but refused to share any of the investors’ names.
It's been an interesting year for the company
AnyVision develops facial recognition technologies that are efficient in crowded areas. The company’s solutions include facial, body, and object recognition, able of turning any camera into a smart device by analyzing and classifying incoming data from camera sensors. According to the company, its technological product called “Better Tomorrow” is capable of providing accurate identification of a person, even if they have lost weight, wear makeup, grew a beard, as well as if they’re concealed behind a prop like glasses or a hat. AnyVision’s target market is obviously security-oriented, however also provides solutions for financial organizations, pathology, agriculture imaging. Furthermore, the technology could be available for private consumer use, it could be used to open doors automatically, just by facial recognition. The company’s business model is built on the sale of the system including a monthly retainer for service.
As we mentioned, the company had a lot going on this past year. In July 2019, TheMarker and NBC exposed that the company’s technology was allegedly used for monitoring Palestinian population in the West Bank. Following the reports, Microsoft’s M12 did some investigating, which led the investment firm to back out of the deal despite there being no evidence of any wrong-doing. The reason behind Microsoft backing out was due to a company-wide policy of refraining from investments in facial recognition companies, with which Microsoft has no control over.
In May, this year, Calcalist published an article exposing that the company had fired dozens of employees and cut wages along the hierarchy board, whereas the company claims that most of the employees were sent on furloughs and have since then returned to work. Yesterday, AnyVision announced a partnership with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems on a new venture, with new company holdings split down the middle between the two entities. The new venture will focus on military technologies, while AnyVision will continue its work on the Home Land Security side.
AnyVision announced a $43 million funding round, while investors remain unnamed, it’s speculated that the round was led by the company’s existing list of investors. In a response from the company, COO Alex Zilberman notes: “what separates AnyVision from the rest is its accuracy, performance, and privacy which we offer on a unified platform that can be scaled based on need.”
AnyVision was founded by Eilon Etshtein, a serial entrepreneur that already sold his first company at 24; Professor Shlomo Ben-Artzi, who serves as Chairman; and professor Niel Robertson, a world-renown machine-learning expert. The company has raised a total of $117 million since it was established in 2015 from investors such as DFJ Growth, Lightspeed, Robert Bosch, and O.G. Tech Ventures.