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Experts believe that Snap acquired Ariel because the AI company is “focused on on-drive 3D mesh building in a snappy and battery efficient way with a use case in AR.”
Snapchat parent company, Snap Inc (NYSE: SNAP), recently acquired artificial intelligence start-up Ariel AI, a company co-founded by former scientists at Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) and Google LLC (NASDAQ: GOOGL). The research scientists include chief technology officer George Papandreou, chief executive Iasonas Kokkinos, along with research and development chief Riza Alp Guler.
Snap and Ariel AI
According to a report by Business Insider, the financial filings of the acquisition revealed that the deal took place around September 2020. After then, the 12-strong Ariel AI team joined Snapchat’s computer vision team in London at the end of the past year. The team will leverage its computer vision skills to enhance Snapchat’s camera. Basically, the Ariel AI team would work on improving Snapchat’s augmented reality experiences.
Augmented reality technology provides an enhanced vision of real-world images through smartphone cameras. Ariel AI focuses on an area of artificial intelligence (AI), which is known as computer vision. The aspect of computer vision is used in the development of augmented reality features.
One of the features of Ariel AI software is its real-time 3D reconstruction on mobile. Ariel AI explained its real-time feature on its website:
“Real-time and high-accuracy 3D reconstruction of the human body shape from a single RGB image on mobile devices.”
The Business Insider report noted that Ariel AI had previously secured $1.1 million from investors Snap acquired the company. Also, none of the two companies revealed the financial details of the recent deal.
According to a CNBC report, Snap said it would focus on understanding geometry, semantics, and other camera aspects.
Speaking to CNBC, Nathan Benaich, an AI investor at Air Street Capital and co-author of the annual State of AI report, said he was expecting the acquisition. Specifically, he said:
“That was my bet actually.”
Speaking further, he mentioned what he perceived as the reason for the acquisition. He believes Snap acquired Ariel because the AI company is “focused on on-drive 3D mesh building in a snappy and battery efficient way with a use case in AR.”
According to data by MarketWatch, Snap is currently at after-hours trading at $53.28, showing a 0.02% fall from its previous close of $53.29 (-0.67%). SNAP has been surging all year. The data revealed that the company grew by 180.62% over the past year and advanced 6.43% in its year-to-date record. In addition to the increases, Snap has climbed 28.29% in the last three months. The company also increased 4.02% over the past month and 5.76% in the last five days.
Apart from Snap, several US firms have also acquired other AI start-ups in the past. In 2014, Google bought DeepMind for a reported sum of $600 million. Furthermore, Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR) purchased Magic Pony Technology for $150 million, while Facebook also acquired Bloomsbury in a $30 million deal.