Exclusive: BlackBerry Funds Viewdle — Visual Recognition for Video to Launch Soon on Mobile

By on 07/24/2010 2:03 PM @beet_tv

Viewdle, the visual recognition software company with origins in the Soviet military, has received a venture round from the RIM's BlackBerry Fund, says John Albright, co-managing partner in this exclusive interview with Beet.TV.

The company is headquartered in San Jose with engineering operations in Kiev.  It launched in 2007 and has recently gone into stealth mode.  It will launch visual recognition for videos on mobile devices and the desktop next year.

The "B" round involves the BlackBerry Fund and other corporate investors, Laurent Gil, CEO, told me on a phone call last night where I reached him in Paris.  Gil declined to name the other investors or provide the size of round which closed recently. The investment has not been previously disclosed.

He said that the technology would be available to many operating systems which could include RIM. 

Earlier this week in at the paidContent Mobile conference at Columbia University,  I interviewed Albright, about the investment and the emergence of  "augmented reality" and visual computing. 

He notes that while forms of this technology is used by various military and intelligence organizations, it is not available to the public.  In this video interview, he says the company's products will be broadly introduced next year.

He explains how the Viewdle software can identify and index individual faces and other objects, and make them part of a personal public profile.

The software could have  big implications for search and indexing as video is not "crawled" by conventional search engine technologies. 

Viewdle's founders formed the company out of technology that was developed at the Institute for Computing and Information Technology (ICIT) in Kiev, Ukraine.  The technology was initially funded for use by the military in the former Soviet Union and has since been transferred to Viewdle.

About the BlackBerry Partners Fund

Albright explains that the Fund, which is focused on companies in the mobile category,  has several non-RIM investors including Thomson Reuters and RBC. He says the technologies it funds are not necessarily for RIM devices.

Viewdle's A round came from Anthem Venture Partners.

Google's Marissa Mayer Weighs in on Viewdle

Check out this episode of Vator.tv where Google's Marissa Mayer gives her thoughts about challenges and opportunities for the company. This segment is from January, 2009.

Andy Plesser

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