Cortica, a company developing image recognition technology to improve ads, has raised $7 million in venture funding, backed by Hong Kong-based Horizons Ventures and former Endemol Group CEO Ynon Kreiz, who is joining Cortica as chairman.
Cortica, which had previously raised $4 million in angel funding, has two offices in Israel, one in New York, and one in Sunnyvale, California. It plans to move its commercial operations from Israel to New York.
Cortica’s technology analyzes images and videos to identify the core concepts, which can then be used to place ads alongside relevant media. For example, Cortica could analyze a photo of an actor, then play the trailer for his latest movie, or could recognize the picture of a product and overlay it with an ad for that product.
The technology was developed by neuroscientists Yehoshua (Josh) Zeevi and Karina Odinaev when they were at the Technion, an Israel university. Zeevi and Odinaev co-founded Cortica with engineer Igal Raichelgauz, the company’s CEO. The technology was derived from scientific research focused on understanding how neural networks of the human cortex perform complex computational tasks, such as identifying patterns, classifying natural signals and understanding concepts.
After several years of further developing the technology, the company now plans to commercialize it. To that end, Cortica is both developing its own commercial applications and talking to potential partners.