Snap-and-search AI startup Cortexica secures £2m

| Beauhurst

Cortexica is an image and object-recognition startup based in London. It has developed image recognition, visual search and categorisation software, and claims that its technology uses algorithms that mimic the way human brains recognise images, objects and patterns with a view to helping consumers find items of clothing similar to those in photos.

It originated as a spin-out from Imperial College’s bioengineering department – according to Cortexica’s website, from a research project designed to reverse-engineer the human visual cortex. The company began by examining the behaviour of visual neurons, and seeks to apply a similar model to visual search. Its commercial use is predominantly in B2C marketing, facilitating more effective searches across websites.

This fundraising is Cortexica’s fifth, and takes its total raised to £6.13m. It has also secured £1.03m in grant funding, over seven “Emerging and Enabling” grants from Innovate UK.

Its sole financial investor is Touchstone Innovations , which is managed by Imperial Innovations – a fund specifically designed to commercialise innovations, frequently those spun out from universities. Touchstone Innovations has previously backed Circassia, a biotech startup which IPO’d for £200m, and music software company Semetric, which was acquired by Apple in 2015.

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