Snap Acquires AI Factory For $166M, For New Video Features

Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, has acquired a Ukraine-based company called AI Factory, to help the social media app provide a new type of video service that uses a person’s face to play short clips, according to a report by TechCrunch. Snap made the acquisition for around $166 million. 

The video feature is called Cameos, and it lets a person take a selfie and then it gets animated and put into a short video. Right now, there are about 150 video templates.

AI Factory was co-founded by Victor Shaburov, who also co-founded another Snap acquisition called Looksery, which was instrumental in developing Snapchat’s popular selfie lenses. Shaburov became Snap’s director of engineering and then left in May of 2018 to start AI Factory.

AI Factory has offices in Ukraine, and also in San Francisco. Some of the AI Factory team is going to relocate as a part of the acquisition. Selfie lenses have been very popular for Snapchat — about 70 percent of daily Snapchat users use them, and they also increase retention of new users. 

On LinkedIn, AI Factory says it “provide[s] multiple AI [artificial intelligence] business solutions based on image and video recognition, analysis and processing.”

In other Snap news, the company recently said the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission were no longer investigating it. 

The probe involved an allegation that Snap lied to investors when it went public in March of 2017.

Snap said that it was subpoenaed in 2018 for information about how competition from Instagram had affected its growth. 

The news was revealed in a regulatory filing on Oct. 23, according to the Financial Times.

Snap said it answered queries for “subpoenas and requests for information,” and that the organizations were “investigating issues related to allegations asserted in our federal securities class action about our IPO [initial public offering] disclosures.”