Beijing-based start-up Yi+, which uses computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI) to provide intelligent media and marketing solutions, has obtained US$15 million in a series B funding round, the firm announced.
The round was led by Haitong Securities, with participation from BRJ Group and an investment fund under the Bank of Beijing. This brings Yi+’s total funding to over US$25 million, including a series A funding from Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. back in 2015. The start-up’s new capital will be used on research and development, product commercialization and entry into new global markets.
With the rise of AI, more attention has been given to the field of computer vision due to its wide array of useful applications. By reinventing the artificial eye, sensors and image processors could match and exceed the abilities of a human eye. Researchers, investors and entrepreneurs are turning their focus to new ventures in this field.
According to the latest research report from Goldman Sachs, China is a strong contender in the field of AI. Indeed, with its vast human and financial resources, as well as an ambitious top-down plan to generate an AI-powered economy in the next decade, many new start-ups and companies have sprung up to capitalize on AI as the next big opportunity.
Founded in 2014, Yi+ is a computer vision service provider. "Our mission is to harness the commercial value hidden in large amounts of visual information. Yi+’s technology improves products by enhancing user experience – thus allowing more to experience what the human eye cannot see. This will fundamentally change the way we view our world," said Zhang Mo, founder and CEO of Yi+.
At present, two flagship brands have been launched under the start-up. They are Yi+, which is an artificial intelligence computer vision engine and Dress+, a search-by-image fashion app.
"With the assistance of technology, more visual data could be gathered, analyzed and processed instantaneously. Yi+ helps to realize the vision of smarter eyes everywhere," Ms Zhang added.
Yi+ has also created a product for Alibaba Digital Entertainment. Known as the large screen AI assistant, Yi+ technology enables large-scale simultaneous "watching and buying" experiences.
In China, Yi+ technologies have been employed by a dozen of brands, such as Alibaba and Huawei, servicing more than a total of 400 million users. In the media industry, Yi+ has been helping to achieve intelligent data analysis, content interaction and scenario-marketing.