by Tech in Asia
Viscovery, a Singapore- and Taipei-based startup that provides image recognition software for mobile apps, announced today it has closed a US$5 million series A round. The company refuses to publicly disclose its investors, but co-founder Connie Huang tells Tech in Asia that they hail from Taiwan, mainland China, and the US.
Viscovery offers business an out-of-the-box SDK and API that lets customers scan real-life items and learn more information about them on their phones – which hopefully leads to a purchase. For example, customers in Taiwan who download an app from Taaze, one of the island’s online booksellers, can scan books they see in a store using Viscovery-powered visual search. They’ll then see Taaze’s product description, and perhaps an option to buy the title.
Viscovery also provides its clients with analytics. It monetizes by charging clients for the number of images they store in the cloud, which Viscovery powers with AWS, or by taking commissions on purchases.
Viscovery’s clients include drugstore chain Watsons, Singapore telco Starhub, China’s Uber-esque Yongche, and others. Huang tells Tech in Asia that they will use the funding to ramp up hiring for R&D in its offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and in Taipei, where most of its employees reside.
Image recognition remains in its infancy, with tiny startups competing against tech giants for mastery of all-things-visual. In Asia, one of Viscovery’s competitors is ViSenze, a Singapore-based firm that received US$3.5 million from Rakuten Ventures last year. Baidu has also trumpeted its efforts in image recognition and artificial intelligence. The company introduced an “image to text” search feature in its translation app last year. In the west, companies like Amazon have developed in-house image recognition tech. They’ve also acquired startups – as Google did with Jetpac, Pinterest did with VisualGraph, and Qualcomm with Euvision Technologies.
Top image by Skobo
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