MIT Emotion Tracker Startup Affectiva Raises $12M; Mary Meeker Joins Board

MIT Emotion Tracker Startup Affectiva Raises $12M; Mary Meeker Joins Board

WALTHAM, MA — August 7, 2012 – Affectiva, the global leader in emotion measurement technologies, announced today that the company has secured $12 million in Series C financing, backed by Hong Kong businessman Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) Digital Growth Fund, with participation from existing investors. 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 W. Picard, Sc.D. and research scientist Rana el Kaliouby, Ph.D., has successfully commercialized emotion technologies, including Affdex™, an automated facial coding platform and Q Sensor™, a wearable biometric sensor.

Building on its momentum in market research, Affectiva will use the new funds to accelerate Affdex development of emotional insights for all forms of online video content, including advertisements, trailers, TV shows and movies. Using the webcam found on laptops, tablets and smartphones, people will watch Affdex-enabled online videos and easily share their emotional experience with friends, family and content providers. This accurate, scalable emotional insight will also allow content providers to optimize 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, 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.

The additional financing will also support the continued development for Q Sensor, already in use by hundreds of leading 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 leading research and commercial institutions on healthcare applications for clinical and consumer health.

“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.”

Affectiva previously raised $7.7 million from WPP, Myrian Capital and the Peder Wallenberg Charitable Trust, represented by Lingfield AB. In addition, the company has also won several National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants to further develop the cloud-based Affdex platform for brand managers seeking to optimize ad performance.