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October 6, 2010

Best Buy, BlackBerry Partners Fund and Chip Maker Qualcomm Invest $10 Million in Series B Funding for Viewdle

Filed under: Venture Capital News — admin @ 1:43 am

Tech start-up Viewdle, focused on facial recognition software, raised $ 10 Million from retailer Best Buy, BlackBerry Partners Fund and Qualcomm. This new funding round also included Anthem Venture Partners, Viewdle’s Series A investor. The capital will be used for launching new consumer products in the following months, introducing significant improvements for smartphones’ built-in video cameras.

What Viewdle has developed is a technology that can provide cross-platform visual analysis in real time – at the point of capture. . The technology uses the hardware of a smartphone , which is limited, thus standing out from the rest of facial recognition companies. Faces in videos and photos are automatically recognized by Viewdle’s patented system, which has been benchmarked as the most efficient available at the moment. The identification of faces is enabled on any device. Consumers can easily and accurately manage, organize and share personal media in real time.

How can this application be used on Facebook? It helps users tag friends and family, upload albums instantly, in just one click and share albums and tagged photos straight from the desktop folders. Not tagging a photo or video media content means essentially losing it. Photos and videos are made searchable, as Viewdle creates a layer of metadata based on recognition, thus enabling the process of looking inside the content and exposing it to search engines.

Viewdle, headquartered in San Jose, California, with offices in Kiev, Ukraine and Montevideo, Uruguay, was founded in 2007. The visual analysis research team that it runs is the world’s largest independent one, comprising 8 PhD’s and 30 specialists. The company collaborates with manufacturing partners, whose names have not been revealed yet, to have its software pre-installed on smartphones. Regarding facial recognition technology, it has clearly been in the limelight as Apple bought Polar Rose and Yandex funded Face.com.

Best Buy is a specialty retailer in the USA, Canada, Europe, China and Mexico. What it offers is a wide range of products, including consumer electronic video products, home office products, and entertainment and computer software. The company, founded in 1966, is based in Richfield, Minnesota and was formerly named Sound of Music, Inc., becoming Best Buy Co., Inc. in 1983. Other past investments, besides Viewdle, include SiBeam and Avnera, fabless semiconductor companies, and Mydeo, a social video site.

BlackBerry Partners Fund is an investment fund, focused on investments that comprise mobile commerce applications, communications, media and entertainment and social networking. Some of the investors are RIM, that is, Research in Motion, RBC and Thomson Reuters. Some of the companies that have received funds from BlackBerry are PocketGear, Payfone, Xobni and socialDeck.

Qualcomm was founded in 1985 in San Diego under the name of QUALity COMMunications . The company is a key player in the adoption and growth of next-generation wireless worldwide. Other significant investments to be mentioned are TweetPhoto, Avaak, Arteris and Xiam.

Read more about Viewdle here.

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