Artificial vision co OrCam raises $41m

Prof. Amnon Shashua and Ziv Aviram

The Israeli company, set up by the founders of Mobileye, told "Reuters" that the financing round was at a company value of $600 million.

Israeli artificial vision device company OrCam has closed a $41 million financing round that values the company at $600 million, the company's chairman Prof. Amnon Shashua has told "Reuters." The Jerusalem based company was founded in 2010 by Shashua and CEO Ziv Aviram, the same duo who founded car sensor developer Mobileye, which was sold to Intel last month for $15.3 billion - easily a record exit in Israel.

OrCam has raised $63 million to date, including the latest financing round. Prof. Shashua did not disclose details about the investors in the latest round but previous investors included Intel Capital, BRM and Aviv Venture Capital.

OrCam has developed a computer vision device that includes a miniature video camera and processing unit that can be attached to eyeglasses. Through a computer vision algorithm, the device is able to vocalize texts it encounters, such as street signs, a restaurant menu, a newspaper, or a book, to those with vision problems. It can identify supermarket products and distinguish different denominations of bills. The identification is communicated to the user verbally with almost no delay from the moment the information is requested by pointing. The device weighs a very light 14 grams. Like every electronic device, it must be kept charged.

Shashua told "Reuters" that OrCam expects to conduct an IPO on the NYSE or Nasdaq by the end of next year."Sales targets for 2017 are four times more than 2016," Shashua said. "By the end of 2018 the revenue, the profit, of the company will be at such a level, together with the ability to forecast, that it's good enough for an IPO."

Shashua does not see a problem in leading both Mobileye and OrCam at the same time. He told "Reuters,""I'm going to get more responsibilities as folding in Intel's assets in autonomous driving and leading the combined effort, but I believe that this is not going to change anything in terms of the time I spend at OrCam." OrCam has two products. The first, OrCam MyEye, is designed for reading texts in newspapers, books, documents, and signs; identifying products at home or in a store (such as distinguishing between a can of corn and a can of beans); and identifying people's faces (mainly for people with face blindness syndrome – an inability to distinguish between people).

The second, OrCam MyReader, is designed for reading texts on smartphone screens. A third product still in development, OrCam MyMe, which can be worn on a shirt, provides the user with information about almost anything, from the food he is eating, the person sitting in front of him, the time he spent in his recent sports activity, etc. OrCam's solution still cannot be used to watch television, because you have to point to the screen from close up.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 2, 2017

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2017

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Prof. Amnon Shashua and Ziv Aviram
Prof. Amnon Shashua and Ziv Aviram
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