Image: Cortica website.
Israeli startup Cortica raised $7 in a second round of funding. The investment was led by Horizons Ventures, owned by the Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing. Venture capitalist Ynon Kreiz also participated in the round, as did Ynon Kreiz, the former Chairman & CEO of the Endemol Group, the world's largest independent television production company. The company had already raised $4 million from a group of high quality angel investors. Mr. Kreiz joins Cortica as its Chairman; founder Technion graduate Igal Raichelgauz continues as CEO.
Cortica’s image recognition technology fuses neuroscience and computer science by imbuing computers the ability to comprehend visual content on the web in real-time. The core technology was developed at Technion, in Haifa, Israel, by a team of neuroscientists and digital media experts. The technology functions similarly to the human cortex and can identify patterns, and make classifications.
Cortica was conceived in 2006 with a vision to fundamentally revolutionize the way computers understand images and video. The essence of Cortica's Image2Text™ technology lies in its ability to automatically extract the core concepts in images and video, and map these concepts to key-words and textual taxonomies.
Cortica was founded by Technion researchers, Prof. Yehoshua (Josh) Zeevi (Faculty of Electrical Engineering); Karina Odinaev; and engineer Igal Raichelgauz, who assembled a multi-disciplinary team of neuroscience researchers, digital multimedia experts and veterans of Israeli military intelligence to develop and commercialize the technology. The underlying 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.
Cortica's commercial team will relocate to the US and will be based in NY with an office in Silicon Valley. The first commercial applications of the technology will transform advertising, search and image analytics
The Technion has an unmatched position within (and outside) Israel in neuro-engineering, and is recognized as a leader in the application of engineering methods and principles to the study of neural systems. Indeed, in addition to Cortica, several successful companies have stemmed from the Technion’s activity in this field (e.g., “BrainsGate”, “Elminda”, “GeneGrafts”, “Neurovibes”).