Don’t judge a book by its cover? What if the cover now contains enormous data and information that can change people’s life. We were lucky to meet a face recognition startup Face++ on the TechCrunch Shanghai event. They started working on this tech two years ago in Beijing, having no idea where it would go and now they are still here focusing on it.
One of the co-founders Qi Yin who is actually an “on-leave” Phd student of the Columbia University shared with us about the story of this startup. He has been a researcher for face recognition and 3D camera design. Calling himself a dreamer, Qi said his dream is to create an interesting startup and obviously it’s come true.
What does Face++ actually does?
Face++ provides leading face recognition technology on cloud, which enables developers/companies to embed advanced face detection, analysis, recognition, large-scale search techs in their apps and websites. With Face++, cool face technologies can help to create brand-new user experience in mobile apps and social websites.
How did your story start …
Previously we were doing research of face recognition and image search in Microsoft and Google. At that time, we were the firm believer of the future internet being “image” centred. People have been uploading huge amount of images through Facebook and Instagram every day. We believed that users need better and novel tools to organise and filter the images.”Why not start from the “most important” images – face images?”I said to the other founder, and that was almost how it started.
How big is this market now? Any suggestions on new players?
Face recognition tech has a long history in traditional areas, such as criminal control and security access. We tried to apply face recognition techs in a pure internet way. So it’s a brand new market. We believe this market is huge since faces reveals the most information of all the internet photos – user ID.
Who are you targeting and how big is the market in China/Asia?
Face++ is providing comprehensive face recognition service in both API and SDK. So all the developers and companies who need face techs are our targets. We have more than 10,000 developers/teams using our service. And the number is increasing rapidly.
Currently, we feel large-scale face recognition has not been as accurate as people expect. Therefore, we have made a new plan called face-mama system. This system may change the game. All I can say currently is it’s a big data loop which may improve face recognition tech in fundamental.
Who are your competitors, and what advantages you have over them?
One of our competitors is face.com which has been acquired by Facebook. There are some other face APIs similar to us. However, we do have confidence in our research and cloud-platform teams, which can produce the best face recognition service to all the developers/companies. After all, we need to compete with ourselves. Only if the accuracy of large-scale face recognition can be fundamentally improved, will we have a chance to be a great company.
The market is brand-new so we have a chance to be the No.1 of the whole market. On the other hand, the road is lonely and we have to define the future of “face recognition” by ourselves.