Inside Kairos’ acquisition of emotion analysis firm IMRSV

April 6, 2015 - 

After being repeatedly asked by customers if it was able to not only detect a person in video, but also the individual’s emotional state, age and gender, facial recognition software start-up Kairos realized it was time to offer such an emotion analysis capability.

Kairos researched a number of companies on the market before it came across IMRSV, which it quickly realized was the best emotion analysis solution available.

For months, the Miami-based company offered IMRSV’s camera enabled software solution to provide its own customers with emotion analysis tools. But once Kairos had the financial means to acquire IMRSV it jumped at the opportunity.

With this acquisition, Kairos is now the only facial biometrics company offering both facial recognition and emotion analysis tools for developers, said founder and CEO Brian Brackeen.

“We’re not aware of another company that offers facial recognition and facial analysis,” Brackeen said in a phone interview with BiometricUpdate.com. “As far as our research goes, we’re unique in that regard. We’re also very developer-centric. We want to be able to provide our capabilities to end developers everywhere so they can use facial analysis and facial recognition in their apps.”

Coinciding with the acquisition, Kairos has released a new suite of tools and analytics software to enable the more than 4,600 developers using Kairos’ facial recognition solutions to benefit from the newly added capabilities.

Kairos Face Recognition API provides new advanced facial recognition capabilities for developers to improve their applications, while the Kairos Emotion Analysis API allows developers or researchers to recognize a wide range of emotions and facial expression in video.

Kairos Crowd Analytics SDK allows developers to develop software that measures the quantity, gender, age and focus of faces in live video.

Finally, IMRSV (formerly CaraCV) is a camera enabled software solution that collects continuous audience analytics to measure these engagements.

“Ultimately, it’s about making things easier for developers,” said Brackeen. “For the SDK, you’re not always going to be in the cloud. You’re not always going to have the ability to send images up and down, and it might not make financial sense to do so from a time or bandwidth perspective. The key is to give tools to do some of these functions local to the device.”

“On the API front, our goal is to perform something that is very complicated – such as facial recognition, facial analysis, crowd analysis, or emotion analytics — in the cloud so that they can read the data quickly on our servers and send you accurate results.”

Kairos offers two different business models that should accommodate the various needs for developers. Under the SaaS model, developers are provided with access to advanced facial biometrics in the cloud with a range of SDKs, are able to experiment for free, and use a tiered plus usage pricing model.

Under the SDK model, organizations are able to purchase SDKs to help them on their facial analysis projects, are able to experiment for free, and use a pricing model based on the volume of faces detected by each camera using the SDK.

The acquisition is expected to make up a third of Kairos’ revenues this year, as well as expand the team from 17 employees to a staff of 25 – not bad for a company that was founded just three years ago.

Kairos has also attracted a few key shareholders, including Kapor Capital, New World Angels, VenVelo, Quotidian Ventures, Great Oaks Venture Capital, Eniac Ventures, 500 Startups, and TechStars.

Including the acquisition of IMRSV, Kairos has managed to raise $5.5 million in seed financing, with hopes to close a Series A round this fall.

Taking into consideration its high growth rate and healthy financial status, Kairos seems poised for early success – which could easily inflate the ego of any entrepreneur.

However, Brackeen seems more excited about the breadth of opportunities that Kairos solutions can offer developers than he is about his own personal gain.

“I think when people see [facial recognition technology] on Minority Report and TV shows like Person of Interest, they think it’s just Hollywood stuff,” said Brackeen. “But then they come across Kairos technology and realize that not only is it real but that they can apply it to what they are doing. We’re just striving to give people the ability to create a whole world of possibilities.”

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.