Alibaba acquires AR software company InfinityAR

Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba Group, has acquired Israeli start-up, InfinityAR, according to a press release that was published on the weekend.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but market sources estimate that Alibaba paid over $10m (£7.5m).

Founded in 2013, InfinityAR is a provider of an operating system that converts augmented reality glasses into powerful platforms of augmented content with the most accurate simultaneous location and mapping (SLAM).

Alibaba & InfinityAR partnership

Under the agreement, InfinityAR will join Alibaba’s Herzliya-based Machine Vision Laboratory, established by Alibaba Damo Academy, the e-commerce $15bn (£11.3bn) technological innovation arm that’s located in seven different cities from around the world.

“We look forward to joining Alibaba, a world-class innovative global technology company, and as part of the company’s Israel Machine Vision Laboratory,” said Motti Kushnir, CEO, and co-founder of InfinityAR.

“Alibaba’s expertise in turning technologies into next-generation products will be a great platform for the future technologies of computer vision, AR and AI.”

Alibaba and InfinityAR have maintained a strategic partnership since 2016, when Alibaba Group led InfinityAR’s Series C. Since then, the two worked on augmented reality, computer vision and artificial intelligence projects.

“Alibaba is delighted to be working with InfinityAR as one team after three years of partnership,” said Prof. Lihi Zelnik-Manor, head of Alibaba’s Israel Machine Vision Laboratory.

“The talented team brings unique know-how in sensor fusion, computer vision, and navigation technologies. We look forward to exploring these leading technologies and offering additional benefits to customers, partners and developers.”

Other acquisitions

The deal comes after the company bought start-up Visualead, its first-ever Israel acquisition in November 2017.

Last year, the company made a strategic investment in Tel-Aviv based public transit optimisation Optibus, and since 2016 has also invested in cloud-connected dashcam developer Nexar, advanced GPU data warehouse providers SQream Technologies, augmented-reality company Lumus and e-commerce search engine firm Twiggle.

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