Snapchat silently obtained AI Factory, the company behind its current Cameos feature, for $166M
In 2015, Snpacht obtained a Ukraine startup, Looksery to supercharge animated selfie lenses in Snapchat, replacing the filters game for every social video and photo apps. Now, Snap has made another purchase with sources in the country, co-founded by one of Looksery’s originators, to give a massive boost to its video abilities.
Who Is AI Factory?
The company has obtained AI Factory, a computer vision startup that Snap had operated with to create Snapchat’s latest Cameos animated selfie-based video feature, for a cost considered to be in the region of $166 million.
Victor Shaburov, the originator of Looksery, who then moved on to become Snap’s manager of engineering — leaving in May 2018 to discover and manage AI Factory — refused to comment on this story.
Cameos, started last month, allows you to take a selfie, which is then automatically “animated” and included in a short video.
The collection of videos, currently about 150, is designed by Snap, with the whole idea not unlike the one underpinning “deepfakes” — AI-based videos that seem “real” but are genuinely things that never actually happened.
Snap has even been an investor in AI Factory.
Why Has Snap Obtained AI Factory?
Part of its initial interest would have been because of the record of the talent connected with the startup: lenses have been a tremendous success for Snap — 70% of its regular active users engage with them.
Plus, they not just bring in new users but improve retention and bring in profits by way of sponsorships or users purchasing them.
So designing new features to provide users more ways to fiddle around with their selfies is a great bet.
It is not open whether AI Factory will be producing a way to include selfies into any video, or if the feature will be drawn just to particular videos given by Snap itself.
It is also not obvious what else AI Factory was operating on: the company’s site is offline, and there is minimal information about the company.
The company’s LinkedIn profile states that AI Factory “give[s] various AI business resolutions based on image and video recognition, review and processing.”
So as the company will come below Snap’s wing, there might be scope for the company to create some of its technology into more innovative ways for companies to use the Snap platform in the future, too.
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