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Emotion technology developer Affectiva nets KPCB, Horizons backing

7 Aug 2012

Horizons Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers have backed a $12m Series C financing round for Affectiva, a maker of technology that measures the emotional connection people have with advertising and brands.

The round also saw participation from existing investors including WPP, the global advertising giant spearheaded by Martin Sorrell, Myrian Capital and the Peder Wallenberg Charitable Trust, represented by Lingfield AB.

As a part of the financing, Frank Meehan at Horizons Ventures will join Affectiva’s board of directors and Mary Meeker, a partner at KPCB, will join as an Affectiva board observer.

Affectiva, an MIT spin-off founded in 2009 by professor Rosalind Picard and research scientist Rana el Kaliouby, has successfully commercialised emotion technologies, including Affdex, an automated facial coding platform and Q Sensor, a wearable biometric sensor.

The company said it will use the new funds to accelerate Affdex development of emotional insights for all forms of online video content, including adverts, trailers, TV shows and films.

Using the webcam found on laptops, tablets and smartphones, people can watch Affdex-enabled online videos and share their emotional experience with friends, family and content providers.

This insight will also allow content providers to optimise their content with improved relevance, engagement and viral impact, resulting in more user traffic and increased advertising revenue.

“Our goal is to make Affdex a globally ubiquitous tool that enables people to understand and share their emotional experiences online,” said David Berman, CEO 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,” added Mary Meeker.

“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.”

The additional financing will also support the continued development for Q Sensor, already in use by hundreds of universities and corporations, to collect data and develop meaningful insights for areas such as sleep, anxiety, and stress.

Affectiva is partnering with a number of research and commercial institutions on healthcare applications for clinical and consumer health.

“Affectiva has the opportunity to make emotion an integral part of consumer’s digital interaction and engagement,” added Frank Meehan at Horizons Ventures.

Affectiva previously raised $7.7m from WPP, Myrian Capital and the Peder Wallenberg Charitable Trust.

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