Facial recognition startup Kairos acquires Emotion Reader
EmotionReader is an Limerick, Ireland-based startup that uses algorithms to analyze facial expressions around video content. The startup allows brands and marketers to measure viewers emotional response to video, analyze viewer response via an analytics dashboard, and make different decisions around media spend based on viewer response.
The acquisition makes sense considering that Kairos core business is focused on facial identification for enterprise clients. Knowing who someone is, paired with how they feel about your content, is a powerful tool for brands and marketers.
The idea for Kairos started when founder Brian Brackeen was making HR time-clocking systems for Apple. People were cheating the system, so he decided to implement facial recognition to ensure that employees were actually clocking in and out when they said they were.
That premise spun out into Kairos, and Brackeen soon realized that facial identification as a service was much more powerful than any niche time clocking service.
But Brackeen is very cautious with the technology Kairos has built.
While Kairos aims to make facial recognition technology (and all the powerful insights that come with it) accessible and available to all businesses, Brackeen has been very clear about the fact that Kairos isn’t interested in selling this technology to government agencies.
Brackeen recently contributed a post right here on TechCrunch outlining the various reasons why governments aren’t ready for this type of technology. Alongside the outstanding invasion of personal privacy, there are also serious issues around bias against people of color.
From the post:
There is no place in America for facial recognition that supports false arrests and murder. In a social climate wracked with protests and angst around disproportionate prison populations and police misconduct, engaging software that is clearly not ready for civil use in law enforcement activities does not serve citizens, and will only lead to further unrest.
As part of the deal, EmotionReader CTO Dr. Stephen Moore will run Kairos’ new Singapore-based R&D center, allowing for upcoming APAC expansion.
Kairos has raised approximately $8 million from investors New World Angels, Kapor Capital, 500 Startups, Backstage Capital, Morgan Stanley, Caerus Ventures, and Florida Institute.