Realeyes, the Estonian start-up which has developed an AI solution for measuring emotions, raised 11 million euros in investments, which will be used for the company to expand to the Asian market. Founded in 2007, the company has sourced a total of 28.1 million euros from investors in its lifetime.
The 11 million euros raised during the venture round will finance the company’s expansion to Japan, whose advertising market is the third largest in the world. The enterprise also aims to develop its technology beyond the marketing sector, extending its reach into such new areas as smart cities, mental well-being and robotics. Today, more than a half of Realeyes’s 78 employees specialise in research and development.
The lead investors of the new venture round were Draper Esprit and NTT DOCOMO Ventures, the venture company of the Japanese telecommunications giant NTT DOCOMO. The co-investors comprised Japan’s largest venture capital fund Global Brain as well as the start-up’s earlier investors Karma Ventures and The Entrepreneurs Fund.
Realeyes primary specialisation is using the latest technological advances to measure people’s emotions and attention through web cameras. The AI solution for measuring emotions developed by Realeyes allows brands and advertising and media agencies to quantify and optimise the efficiency of creative solutions and sales strategy of media platforms in order to make better marketing solutions.
Mihkel Jäätma, the co-founder and CEO of Realeyes, says that the company is going through very interesting times. “Due to the support provided by our existing investors Draper Esprit, Karma Ventures, Entrepreneurs Fund and, previously, also Tera Ventures we continue a revolution in measuring the efficiency of global marketing campaigns by using the speed and vast scope of artificial intelligence”, CEO Mihkel Jäätma said.
“With the help of our new Japanese investors we will be able to enter one of the world’s largest and most fascinating advertising markets, but this is merely the first step on the path for Realeyes. Looking beyond the marketing sector, we have glimpsed a tiny share of what an AI solution for measuring emotions can do. The global implementation of 5G networks is one of the reasons we want to make communication with devices more humanised and make sure that devices better understand users’ actual wishes and needs,” Jäätma added.
Takayuki Inagawa, the president and CEO of NTT DOCOMO Ventures, says that AI-based products by Realeyes provide marketers with a much deeper and more data-based understanding of what consumers think about the content created by marketers. This, in its turn, allows more efficient strategies to be formed and smarter marketing decisions to be made. “Realeyes’s solution has received great appreciation globally, and we hope to see the company’s ongoing growth on the Asian market,” Inagawa added.
One of the first to invest in the operation of Realeyes was the Estonian investment company Tera Ventures, whose portfolio includes such successful Estonian start-ups as GrabCAD, Cleveron, Monese, Jobbatical, Scoro, etc. “Realeyes is yet another impressive success story in the Estonian start-up landscape, having by now won the trust of top international investors and achieved a global dimension because of its smart idea and the founders’ dedication,” said Andrus Oks, founder of and partner in Tera Ventures.
Oks added that Tera Ventures provided the start-up companies in its portfolio with access to the expertise and practical assistance necessary for turning a start-up into a mature business and for sourcing capital from international investors. Tera Ventures also helps start-ups to create networks on the markets to which the companies in its portfolio want to expand, for instance, in Great Britain, US and Asia.
Realeyes was founded in 2007 by Mihkel Jäätma, Martin Salo and Elnar Haiyev, who met during their studies at the University of Oxford. The transnational company has offices in New York, Boston, London and Budapest. Realeyes’s customer portfolio includes globally famous brands, for example, Mars, Hershey’s, Coca-Cola and AT&T, such agencies as Ipsos, MarketCast and Publicis as well as media companies, for example, Turner and Teads.