Affectiva, a company that specialises in emotion measurement technologies, has secured $12 million to further invest in bringing ’emotion insight technology’ to online video. The company currently uses their ’emotional measurement technology’ to help companies carry out market research online, but Affectiva hope to use the funds to develop their Affdex product, which uses a device’s webcam to analyse a person’s facial expressions in reponse to online video content, whether it’s advertising, TV shows and movies (you can demo it here, although you might be recorded).
Affectiva say Affdex will enable content providers to optimise their content with improved relevance, engagement and viral impact, resulting in more user traffic and increased advertising revenue. The company is an MIT spin-off founded in 2009 by professor Rosalind W. Picard, Sc.D. and research scientist Rana el Kaliouby, Ph.D., who have commercialised other emotion technologies, such as Q Sensor, a wearable biometric sensor that measures emotional arousal via skin conductance, a form of electrodermal activity that grows higher during states such as excitement, attention or anxiety and lowers during states such as boredom or relaxation.
“Our goal is to make Affdex a globally ubiquitous tool that enables people to understand and share their emotional experiences online,” said David Berman, chief executive officer at Affectiva. “While there is tremendous value for online video publishers to better understand consumer engagement with their content, we want to take this even further, so that consumers can see and share their own personal emotional scores.”
“Capturing and viewing online video has become mainstream. The ability to effectively measure real-time emotion while consumers are watching video has the potential to improve online engagement and satisfaction for users, in addition to creating opportunities for marketers to more effectively determine what consumers care most about. Affectiva’s thought leadership and commercial traction position the company well for growth and impact,” said Mary Meeker, a partner at KPCB and Internet-industry expert.
“Horizons Ventures identifies and enables innovative, market-making companies, like Affectiva, which is a great addition to our portfolio and will be an exciting player in the social and mobile space,” said Frank Meehan at Horizons Ventures. “Affectiva has the opportunity to make emotion an integral part of consumer’s digital interaction and engagement.”
This round of funding came from Hong Kong businessman Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) Digital Growth Fund, with some coming from Affectiva’s existing investors. In its last round of funding Affectiva raised $7.7 million from WPP, Myrian Capital and the Peder Wallenberg Charitable Trust, represented by Lingfield AB.