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Image recognition startup Cortica has raised another $1.5 million in funding — this time from Russian technology powerhouse Mail.Ru Group.

Cortica’s Image2Text technology promises to give computers the ability to comprehend visual content in real time. The technology supposedly functions similarly to the human cortex and can identify patterns and make classifications from images, videos, maps, and more. For example, Image2Text can recognize a photo of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and then automatically offer up background info about the structure, ads for tickets to Paris, and a video showing views of the city.

Previously, Cortica raised $7 million in funding from Li Ka-Shing’s Horizons Ventures and venture capitalist Ynon Kreiz.

Now the startup will have backing from Mail.Ru, which has a major presence in the Russian-speaking markets. Mail.Ru Group claims that its sites reach 86 percent of Russian-speaking Internet users every month. It operates top Russian email service Mail.Ru, two of the largest IM services (Mail.Ru Agent and ICQ), and two of the three largest Russian social networking sites (My World and Odnoklassniki.ru). Additionally, it owns a minority equity stake in top Russian social network Vkontakte.

“We are really excited to work with Mail.Ru Group,” Cortica CEO and co-founder Igal Raichelgauz said in a statement. “Mail.ru shares our vision for leveraging Image2Text technology for visual search and contextual advertising and taking users’ web surfing experience to a whole new level.”

Cortica was founded in 2007 and has employess in New York City, Sunnyvale, Calif. and Israel.

Facial recognition photo via Franck Boston/Shutterstock


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