An analysis of the Business Social Graph reveals that Intel has acquired three perceptual computing startups since the start of 2012 previously backed by Intel Capital.
With year-over-year deal activity jumping over 40%, the perceptual computing space is quickly gaining interest among venture capital investors. And the most interested investor appears to be Intel Capital, which earlier this summer announced the creation of a $100M Experiences and Perceptual Computing Fund to invest in technologies ranging from emotion sensing to gestural control.
Intel Capital has generally behaved more like a financial VC investor (as highlighted by their strong showing in Tech IPO Pipeline companies) than a traditional corporate investor who tries to marry financial returns with strategic benefits to the mothership (or in some cases, corporate investors don’t care about returns at all). But are things changing? Interestingly, an analysis of the Business Social Graph reveals that Intel has become increasingly keen on acquiring perceptual computing startups backed by its own corporate venture arm.
Intel Capital began investing in the perceptual computing space much earlier than the announcement of its fund. For example, the firm invested in conversation computing startup Expect Labs in April and participated in eye control company Tobii Technology’s $20M Series B round last March. The Business Social Graph illustration below highlights Intel Capital’s perceptual computing-related investments since 2007.
But a closer look at the Business Social Graph shows that three of those investments have since been acquired by Intel. Two of the three investment-acquisitions, Indisys and Omek Interactive, have come since June 2013, while Intel’s acquisition of Korean visual recognition startup Olaworks came in April 2012.
Interestingly enough, all three of Intel’s perceptual computing acquisitions were acquired at valuations under $50M, an indication that the company appears to prefer purchasing relatively smaller scale companies developing perceptual computing software and apps. All three of the acquired companies were based outside of the U.S. Gesture recognition firm Omek was based in Israel, while just-acquired natural language recognition firm Indisys was based in Spain.
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