Riya Goes it Alone

Riya, the celebrated facial recognition company that has allowed in a few lucky alpha testers over the last few months, was the subject of significant acquisition rumors a few weeks ago. “Sources” put the price in the $30 million range, although the company was understandably silent, even during their launch party a few days later.

Tonight, Founder and CEO Munjal Shah finally addressed the acquisition rumors around Riya on his blog, stating flatly that Riya continues as an independent company:

For the past few months, there have been many speculations about our future as an independent company. For various legal reasons I couldn’t and still can’t directly comment on these. However, at this time, Riya continues as an independent team fully focused on making our photo search dream a reality.

Robert Scoble just wrote about this as well, admitting that Microsoft took a look at Riya (passing on the price), and expressing his hope that they’ll take another look now that the Google deal has fallen through.

Either way, I’m just looking forward to the product finally shipping. Munjal says that will be at Demo in February.

And as an interesting side discussion, Peter Rip, a Riya investor (and a friend of mine) takes us all down a notch (TechCrunch is specifically mentioned) saying “Every report was factually incorrect at the time it was printed. I did not see one accurate characterization of any discussions Riya.com may or may not have had.”

Ouch. But this can’t be entirely correct – Robert has confirmed in his blog that Microsoft met with Riya and passed on the deal. So at the very least, acquisition discussions were taking place.