EyeEm Acquires Computer Vision Startup Sight.io To Make Photo Search And Discovery Better

Berlin-based photo-sharing platform EyeEm has acquired a smaller computer vision startup called Sight.io, both companies are announcing today. As a part of the deal, Sight.io founder Appu Shaji, originally from Kerala, India, will now join EyeEm as Head of Research and Development, where he will continue to work on technologies that can help EyeEm improve upon its image searching technologies.

Though Sight.io was a small company, its technology, which involves a combination of computer vision and machine learning techniques, was already well-known in its field and was even attracting the attention of larger players, we’re hearing, including one large stock photo site (rhymes with “clutter…”), for instance.

The startup, for background, offered computer vision-based automatic photo management and processing solutions which aimed to take the pain and cost out of manual image editing, sorting, composing, ranking, selecting and arranging. Its algorithms could look at your photo collection, and pull out the best images based on a number of factors.

In the official announcement posted on its website, Sight.io is being cagey about what’s next, now that they’ve joined EyeEm, saying only:

While we can’t share exactly what we’ll be working on, it’s safe to say that a lot of the core principles and technology built over the past few years at sight.io will make an appearance on EyeEm.

However, more broadly speaking, joining up with EyeEm makes sense for Sight.io, as EyeEm is heavily focused on photo discovery, and the technology and talent Sight.io brings will help EyeEm improve its own photo search and discovery systems that much more quickly. Essentially, this deal plays into EyeEm’s larger thesis that search and discovery on the large stock photo sites and photo-sharing networks could be so much better, and it’s only a matter of building out the right technology to give itself the edge.

After all, if you can’t find photos to begin with, how will you license them or use them?

For those unfamiliar with EyeEm, the company has been doing interesting things lately, expanding beyond being known only as “Europe’s Instagram.” The site keeps high-resolution photos from its users and makes them available through Getty for purchase, which sees it competing more for photographer amateur and pro customers, rather than teens – similar to 500px, or, to some extent, Flickr.

In fact, EyeEm even snagged Flickr’s head of product since 2011 Mark Spiering not too long ago.

Sight.io was a small team of just three at the time of the acquisition, and was self- and angel-funded with just $30,000 invested. Shaji is immediately joining EyeEm, but the others may join at a later time.