Venice, Calif.-based messaging app startup Snapchat is acquiring Israeli augmented reality (AR) startup Cimagine Media, reportedly for about $40 million according to Calcalist. Cimagine is expected to become Snapchat’s R&D center in Israel, marking its first investment in the Startup Nation.
Cimagine was founded in 2012 by Yonmi Nevi (CEO), Nir Daube (VP Prodduct) and Ozi Egri (VP R&D), bringing together a team with expertise in computer vision, real-time image processing, mobile development, international marketing and business development, from leading technology companies such as Rafael Defense Systems, HP, IBM, Dassault Systemes, P&G, Amdocs and ECI Telecom. With further support from a multi-disciplinary advisory board in the fields of retail, architecture, user experience and technology, Cimagine says it is taking augmented reality (AR) in commerce to the next level.
Cimagine is said to have launched the world’s largest implementation of AR in retail to date with Shop Direct, the largest global brand AR deployment with TCCC and the world’s first augmented showroom. Cimagine has been featured by the BBC, CNBC, Wired, and NRF, and was designated as one of Israel’s most promising and notable startups by Inc, Microsoft, and Forbes. Cimagine is headquartered in Israel with a global presence in the UK, USA and Australia.
Cimagine has developed the most solid AR engine available today. Its patent-pending markerless technology automatically scans and identifies surfaces in scenes captured by a user’s mobile or wearable device camera and overlays life-like 3D images of products onto real-time video.
Cimagine brings intuitive AR to commerce and to enterprise through a markerless solution that is launched at the click of a button. Unlike other solutions, Cimagine’s AR engine does not require the user to print and place a reference marker in order to identify surfaces and estimate scale. By combining information from a mobile device’s internal sensors with deep image processing and applying unique computer vision algorithms, Cimagine embeds 3D objects realistically into live video scenes, anchoring them to their position. Virtual products do not drift while the user moves around a room, thereby allowing users to view items from all angles and distances in order to make informed buying decisions.
Cimagine’s proprietary rendering engine supports a high poly-count of 3D assets with textures that are ten times higher than the industry standard. This allows customers to experience life-like 3D product representations that are rendered in real-time at 30fps, the industry’s highest live video rate. Products appear life-like and to scale, so customers can simply and easily see if items fit their homes and offices from different angles and perspectives. The company’s platform is delivered as a cloud-based SaaS solution.
Snapchat is a photo messaging app that allows users to take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send them to recipients. The company was founded in 2011 by Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, when they were students at Stanford University.
Snapchsat is said to have raised a total of $2.65 billion in venture funding from investors including Alibaba, Saudi Prince Alwaleed’s Kingdom Holding, Yahoo, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Tencent, Benchmark, Fidelity Investments, General Atlantic, IVP, and others.
In August, Snapchat acquired San Francisco-based startup Vurb, a card-based contextual search engine app for Apple and Android devices, for $110 million, as previously reported by ExitHub.