Mobile

360 Panorama-maker Occipital lands $7M with plans for computer vision platform

Occipital, the company behind the popular panoramic photo app 360 Panorama, announced today that it has received $7 million in first round funding led by Foundry Group.

The company plans on using the influx of funding to make a big leap: It is going to launch a computer vision platform that other mobile developers can take advantage of for their own projects.

“We’re using computer vision to make real world environments computationally interactive and fun, thereby extending the computational reach of your device into the visual space around you,” Occipital wrote in a blog post today.

The notion of computer vision refers to the ability for computers to extract data from images or video. In the mobile app world, that most often refers to augmented reality offerings like Google Goggles or Yelp’s Monocle feature.

“We’re wholeheartedly approaching augmented reality as a computer vision problem,” Occipital co-founder Vikas Reddy told VentureBeat in an email. “That’s why we focus more on computer vision than AR when we explain our focus. The technical challenge in making AR ‘just work’ is one of the hardest problems in computer science right now. It’s something far too time consuming and costly for 99.9 percent of the developers out there to tackle, so we’re taking it on in a big way.”

Reddy said that Occipital has more applications in the wings that will take advantage of its new platform, but he couldn’t offer up any details just yet. The company has learned quite a bit since it launched 360 Panorama, Reddy said, and there’s still more to come for fans of the app. “360 Panorama has been an awesome beta test for us, and will continue to evolve rapidly. In 360, we’re not only doing computer vision on devices, but we’re wrapping it into an experience everyone can understand.”

Occipital added cloud-based processing to 360 Panorama in May, and Reddy said that will also show up in future products.

Boulder, CO based Occipital was founded in 2008 by Reddy and Jeff Powers. In addition to today’s funding, the company is adding new members to its board of directors, including Jason Mendelson and Brad Feld of Foundry Group, Manu Kumar of K9 Ventures and Gary Bradski of Willow Garage.


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