Facial Recognition Tech Startup Face.com Raises $4.3M From Yandex And Others

Yandex, operator of Russia’s largest search engine, has invested in Tel-Aviv based facial recognition technology startup Face.com, marking its first investment in an Israeli company. In total, Face.com has raised $4.3 million in Series B funding in a round led by previous investor Rhodium.

The news was first reported by TheMarker (in Hebrew) but we’ve confirmed the news with a Yandex representative, who declined to say how much it is investing in the startup.

Yandex did say they and Face.com are working on a “large joint project”, but failed to specify what that initiative entails exactly. Finally, Yandex CEO Arkady Volozh has joined the startup’s board of directors.

Face.com, founded in 2007, has developed a number of face recognition apps for Facebook (PhotoTagger and Photo Finder; the latter is currently in private alpha mode).

Last May, the company said its technology had helped users scan over 7 billion photos, and moved to launch a developer community and open API, providing third-party devs access to their core facial recognition technology.

One of the startup’s closest competitors, Polar Rose, was reportedly acquired by Apple for about $29 million.

Update: statement from Face.com founder and CEO Gil Hirsh:

Face.com has indeed accepted a round of funding. The total amount is $4.3M USD, and the participants included Rhodium, Yandex, and current private investors. We’re going to use the money to boost our development team, hire some new and talented people, and build out additional infrastructure to support our facial recognition platform.

We’ve had thousands of developers sign up to join our platform and get access to our facial recognition API’s, and we want to support those developers and provide great technology. We’re excited and very proud to have the support from our investors.