Photo recognition startup Riya Inc. a developer of technology that can search through digital photos has clicked $15 million in its second round of venture financing led by Bay Partners as well as early investors Leapfrog Ventures, BlueRun Ventures, and Josh Kopelman.
Munjal Shah, the CEO and Co-founder of the Redwood City, CA based startup says the company will use the funding to popularize its facial recognition software. Riya has been in news since March last year for unsuccessful acquisition talks with Google when the company had just released the alpha version of its photo search product.
“VCs have been interested in Web 2.0 consumer companies but prefer ones that have strong intellectual property and hence defensibility against competitors. At the same time they want something that has broad consumer appeal. Riya has both of these things,” Shah says about the VC interest in the company.
According to Shah, there are two areas where Riya sees its technology being used extensively. “People everywhere now have thousands of digital photos and yet have no way to search these photos. There are lots of sites for sharing and printing your photos but none that uses face recognition to actually look inside your photos and make them searchable, this is where we come in.”
Shah says anyone with a digital camera and has more than 100 photos is a customer. The company has 25 employees, ten of them in Bangalore, India, with majority of facial-recognition focused computer science PhDs.