D-ID, the Israeli company leveraging artificial intelligence to create unique, viral experiences like “Deep Nostalgia,” which animates the faces of long-lost relatives in your old photos, announced today the raise of a $25 million Series B round of funding led by Macquarie Capital. The additional funds shortly follow D-ID’s recent launch of its Deep Nostalgia follow-up project, LiveStory, which adds audio to the animated photos, allowing the people in the photos to narrate their own life histories.
The company also recently announced plans to debut its own AI-powered video greeting mobile app, Wishful.
Deep Nostalgia and LiveStory, both collaborations with MyHeritage, helped put D-ID’s name on the map, as the resulting animations went viral across social media platforms like TikTok, thanks to users sharing their emotional reactions to seeing their loved ones again in this new format. The MyHeritage mobile app is a testament to D-ID’s success here, sporting a 4.8-star rating across some 42,300 user reviews — a large number of them praising the AI-powered animations. To date, Deep Nostalgia alone has created nearly 100 million animations, the company said.
Earlier this month, D-ID expanded on the Deep Nostalgia technology to allow the people in the animated photos to “speak” by training a neural network using videos of people talking, in order to get the lips in the photos matched to the words the users provided. Though this technology is not quite advanced enough to enter deepfake territory, it’s akin to really good lip-syncing — or that’s how the company put it at the time.
However, D-ID’s broader business extends beyond consumer tech partnerships, like the one with MyHeritage or, in India, with short-form video app Josh, which used D-ID’s facial animation tech as a creative tool. Elsewhere, D-IDs APIs have been used by a range of licensees across media, education, marketing and more. It’s worked with Warner Bros. to allow users to personalize a movie trailer with animated photos and for a Harry Potter exhibition. Mondelēz International, advertising agency Publicis and Digitas Vietnam partnered with D-ID on marketing efforts for a local festival. The company also worked with nonprofit organizations and governments in public awareness campaigns on topics such as domestic violence and HIV awareness.
As a private company, D-ID doesn’t discuss its revenue figures, but it said it’s growing quickly and has many more customers in the pipeline. This year, in particular, the company is expecting to see significant growth, notes D-ID co-founder and CEO Gil Perry. The funds will help on that front by allowing the currently 33-person company to staff up its sales and marketing teams in the U.S., APAC and EMEA regions, he said. Plus, D-ID is also looking to double the number of experts on its deep-learning and computer vision teams.
The main drivers of the company’s growth come from enterprise customers, specifically in the U.S., Perry told TechCrunch. This market is where D-ID now sees a large number of its API calls, related to the creation of the AI-powered videos made using its technology.
“Over the past year we have witnessed the skyrocketing success of our technology across so many applications and industries, with the power to generate so much good,” said Perry. “We are incredibly grateful for this new round of funding and strong partnership with Macquarie, which will enable us to scale up our business and our technology to the next level. We’re excited for what the future holds.”
Beyond AI-powered video, D-ID is also working on developing technologies for the metaverse. It has partnered with VR/AR platform maker The Glimpse Group to help develop AI, AR and VR applications for the metaverse.
“We’re always looking five to 10 years ahead and we were much more aware about the metaverse — and we understand our capabilities [to be ahead of] other startups and the tech giants in this specific domain,” Perry said in a recent interview. “What we’re planning to do is, first, we’re building full-body re-enactment in 3D. … Two, we’re doing it fast.”
Perry believes for the metaverse to take off, avatars will need to be further developed to become more realistic. They need to “look, behave, move and interact with each other in a super realistic way,” he said. In the future, he imagines how users could enter the metaverse to chat with not only their family members from the past, but also meet and interact with famous figures — like schoolchildren asking Albert Einstein questions, and having him respond in their own language. “This is where D-ID is heading.”
Beyond its existing partnerships, Perry said D-ID is also in conversations with many “tech giants,” but couldn’t provide exact names as discussions are ongoing. “We’re in advanced stages with strategic players — leading tech giants from the phone manufacturers, cameras, social networks, music industry video conferences, and such,” Perry hinted.
Joining Macquarie in the Series B round are investments from Pitango, AXA, OurCrowd, OIF, Maverick, and Marubeni, bringing D-ID’s total raise to date to $48 million.
“Our purpose is about empowering people to innovate and invest for a better future. D-ID helps us imagine that future,” David Standen, Global Co-Head of Macquarie Capital Venture Capital Group, said in a statement. “We’re delighted to gain exposure to this rapidly growing sector. This technology offers so many uses across such a wide variety of industries. They’re true pioneers in a pioneering market. We know this is just the beginning for D-ID and Macquarie.”