Snapchat Acquires AI Factory for $166M

You might be wondering what is the importance of this particular acquisition, as most haven’t even heard of the AI Factory. Well, upon acquiring Ukraine startup Looksery back in 2015 to significantly improve the animated selfie lenses in Snapchat which, we could say, changed the filters game for all social video and photo apps, the guys behind Snapchat have made jet another significant acquisition co-founded by one of Looksery’s founders with a sole purpose of providing a significant boost to its video capabilities.

The company in question is the Ukrainian AI Factory, a computer vision startup that had previously collaborated with Snapchat in order to create their new Cameos animated selfie-based video feature. The current sources say that this acquisition cost around $166 million. So far, Victor Shaburov, founder of Looksery, who become Snapchat’s director of engineering only to leave the company in May 2018 so as to found and lead AI Factory, has not as of yet had a comment regarding this piece of news.

As you might have noticed, cameos, which have been launched last month, enable you to take a selfie, which is automatically “animated” afterward and inserted into a short video. So far, the selection of 150 videos was created by Snapchat. It is important to note that the whole concept is similar to the one underpinning “deepfakes”. This means that AI-based videos that look “real” are actually things that never really happened. You can see the sheer potential of such an upgrade to Snapchat. Given the fact that all apps of this sort are literally racing to get fresh and entertaining features that would give them the much-needed edge to beat their competition, advances like these are worth a whole fortune.

So far, lenses have been a massive success for Snapchat, with around 70% of its active users play with them daily. In addition, this features not only bring in new users but are also proven to increase retention and bring in revenues via sponsorships and users purchasing them. Then it is quite clear that creating new features to give users more ways to play around with their selfies is a great investment.

Now, there are still additional details regarding this acquisition that are yet to surface. But so far, this seems like the beginning of a very lucrative collaboration the results of which we, the Snapchat users, are yet to reap. Just imagine what your favorite Snapchat usernames can do with the new features, whether you prefer following celebrities or artists. You can imagine all the fun content that is about to emerge.

The fact of the matter is that the acquisition of companies such as the AI Factory is essential for winning the popularity race between social media companies and their various video apps. Only by keeping the users on the edge of their seats by constantly providing them something new and cutting edge will companies like Snapchat be able to maintain and grow their user numbers. So stay tuned, new things are bound to rock this industry.