In order to finalise its tool for generating synthetic images to train artificial intelligence, the Provencal deeptech company is raising €2.5m from Innovacom and Bpifrance Investissement.
The young deeptech company AI Verse wants to democratize the use of deep learning (software that simulates a neural network, commonly known as artificial intelligence – AI) for the creation of artificial vision software. To do this, it is tackling the lack of images and more specifically the lack of correctly labelled images, i.e. where each pixel of an important element in an image is identified, which is essential for training an AI. “Only large organisations can afford to rally the resources needed to build a bank of labelled images manually and without being able to predict the final quality,” comments Benoit Morisset, president and founder in 2020. A doctor in robotics and artificial intelligence, he founded Pixmap, a company acquired by Apple in 2017 that integrates 3D mapping systems with robotics. With Arnaud Lamorlette, an expert in 3D animation who has supervised Dreamworks projects (Shrek 2 and 3, etc.), they have developed a solution that automatically generates synthetic images that can feed these digital neural networks. To finalise it, they raised €2.5m from Innovacom, which is involved through its Technocom 3 FPCI and the Digital Venture fund of Bpifrance Investissement. The five current employees (excluding the founder) also hold 20% of the shares.
Sale of image banks
The new cash will enable the software to be taken from the prototype stage to a marketable solution within twelve to sixteen months. It will be available through an online platform and will be aimed at SMEs as well as large accounts in the fields of robotics, virtual and augmented reality, home automation, smart cities and intelligent assistants. IA Verse, based near Nice, promises that each client will be able to obtain in a few hours a bank of computer-generated images representing any situation, on which an AI must be trained, for a price of around ten cents per image. Five to ten tech profiles should thus be recruited. The American companies DataGem and Parallel Domain, which specialises in imaging for autonomous vehicles, are present in the sector. In France, the company Imageens – which raised €1.2m in April (see below) – has developed software that automatically defines the elements present in existing medical images.
The stakeholders in the AI VERSE transaction
- Target company: AI VERSE
- Buyer or Investor: INNOVACOM, BPIFRANCE INVESTISSEMENT
- Corporate Counsel: CONSTELLATION AVOCATS, Pierre Callède
- Investor Counsel: JOFFE & ASSOCIES, Thomas Saltiel, Charlotte VIANDAZ