Affectiva raises $5.7 million in second round

By: Brian Dolan | Jul 20, 2011        

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qsensor-curve2Affectiva, a start-up that aims to quantifiably analyze emotions to improve consumer experiences, announced this week that it has received a $5.7 million second round of financing. The funding was led by WPP’s insight group Kantar and Myrian Capital, who will now have seats on Affectiva’s board of directors. Affectiva was founded in 2009 by two MIT scientists and started as a research project on autism at MIT’s Media Lab.

The financing will go towards Affectiva’s two main offerings: Affdex, an emotion recognition software, and the next generation of the Q Sensor, a wrist sensor which measures electrodermal activity (EDA), motion and temperature to quantify emotion. The Affdex software uses a computer’s webcam to read emotional states via non-verbal responses such as facial expressions.

“Marketers recognize that emotion drives brand loyalty and purchase decisions. Affdex addresses an enormously challenging problem, understanding how people really feel in order to create products or experiences that are engaging and drive the right response,” stated Dave Berman, CEO of Affectiva in a press release.

Check out the full press release after the jump.

Affectiva Raises $5.7 Million

Waltham, MA, July 19, 2011 — Affectiva (http://www.affectiva.com), a leading emotion measurement and communication technology startup, today announced it has completed a $5.7 million Series B financing round led by WPP’s consumer insight group, Kantar, and Myrian Capital.

Founded in 2009 by MIT scientists Rosalind W. Picard and Rana el Kaliouby, Affectiva grew out of collaborative research at the MIT Media Lab. It applies innovations in computing to help understand how people feel in order to improve products and experiences.

Affectiva will use the financing to accelerate the development and marketing of Affdex, a software solution for emotion recognition. Recently launched, the Affdex system reads emotional states such as liking and attention from facial expressions using a webcam. Affdex employs advanced computer vision and machine learning techniques to recognize and automate the analysis of non-verbal responses, and it applies scientifically validated and patented methods to interpret viewers’ emotional responses quickly and at scale. Today, Affdex hosts the world’s largest database of facial expressions.

“Marketers recognize that emotion drives brand loyalty and purchase decisions. Affdex addresses an enormously challenging problem, understanding how people really feel in order to create products or experiences that are engaging and drive the right response,” said Dave Berman, CEO of Affectiva.

In addition, the financing will support the next generation of Affectiva’s Q Sensor, a wearable biometric sensor used by more than 100 leading universities and corporations to track excitement, engagement, stress and anxiety. The Q Sensor quantifies emotional excitement by measuring electrodermal activity (EDA), motion and temperature. It provides objective biological data that can measure emotions in natural settings.

“Affectiva is at the forefront of emotion measurement science and of developing technologies that are fast, scalable and easy to use outside of the lab in the real world. This round of funding strengthens Affectiva’s leading position and will accelerate the company’s already impressive pace of development. We plan to incorporate Affectiva technology into key areas of our offer, including communications research and innovation work,” said Eric Salama, CEO of Kantar.

“Myrian Capital is excited to join with WPP to support this round of funding for Affectiva. The powerful technology Affectiva products bring to advanced communications fits well with the Myrian investment philosophy. We see significant growth opportunities for Affectiva through the partnership with the Myrian team and the exceptional resources of Kantar and WPP,” said Mike Mathile, chairman of Myrian Capital.

WPP and Myrian Capital will assume seats on Affectiva’s board of directors.

Affectiva also recently added two executives to its leadership team: Timothy Peacock, vice president of engineering, and Andy Dreisch, vice president of customer success. Prior to joining Affectiva, Peacock led engineering at many Web companies including ChoiceStream, Sermo and Intranets.com. Dreisch led customer success at SugarCRM.

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About Affectiva

Founded in 2009, Affectiva grew out of collaborative research at the MIT Media Lab to help people on the autism spectrum. It applies innovations in affective computing to help understand how people feel in order to improve products and experiences. Affectiva’s customers include Fortune 500 companies, agencies and leading universities. Its products include the Q™, a wearable biosensor, and Affdex facial expression recognition technology. Affectiva is privately held with backing from the National Science Foundation and funding from WPP, Myrian Capital and the Peder Sager Wallenberg Charitable Trust, represented by Lingfield AB. For more information, visit www.affectiva.com.

About WPP

WPP is the world’s largest communications services group with billings of $66 billion and revenues of approximately $15 billion. Through its operating companies, the Group provides a comprehensive range of advertising and marketing services including advertising; media investment management; consumer insight; public relations and public affairs; branding and identity; healthcare communications; direct, digital, promotion and relationship marketing and specialist communications. The company employs over 146,000 people (including associates) in 2,400 offices in 107 countries. For more information, visit www.wpp.com.

About Kantar

Kantar is one of the world’s largest insight, information and consultancy groups. By uniting the diverse talents of its 13 specialist companies, the group aims to become the pre-eminent provider of compelling and inspirational insights for the global business community. Its 28,500 employees work across 100 countries and across the whole spectrum of research and consultancy disciplines, enabling the group to offer clients business insights at each and every point of the consumer cycle. The group’s services are employed by over half of the Fortune Top 500 companies. For further information, please visit us at www.kantar.com

About Myrian Capital

Myrian Capital is an investment management firm affiliated with the Mathile Family and located in Ohio (Dayton Region), Myrian investments include applied technologies in advanced media, video-communications and advanced digital input. Myrian investments are more than financial assets…they are our partners. Myrian collaborates with investors and management teams to provide strategic support, resources and a practical formula for success. For more information, visit myriancapital.com