Twitter has acquired Magic Pony for around $150m. Magic Pony is artificial intelligence startup in London.
The startup was founded by graduates of Imperial College London. It uses machine learning to create high-quality videos from grainy footage. Twitter is most likely to integrate it into Twitter’s live and video services such as Periscope and Vine.
This deal includes the retention bonuses for the staff. Also, including co-founders Zehan Wang and CEO Rob Bishop.
“Machine learning is increasingly at the core of everything we build at Twitter,” said Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO and co-founder, in a statement. “Magic Pony’s machine learning technology will help us build strength into our deep learning teams with world-class talent. So Twitter can continue to be the best place to see what’s happening and why it matters, first. We value deep learning research to help make our world better. And we will keep doing our part to share our work and learnings with the community.”
This is the second machine learning start-up Twitter has acquired in the UK. Twitter acquired Whetlab last year, and second in the area of machine learning used for machine learning for images, after acquiring Madbits in 2014.
The Magic Pony team will remain in the UK, where it would form the basis of their AI research team in Europe.
“Some worry that we are suffering from a brain drain, with our universities producing world-class researchers who end up at West Coast powerhouses. I happen to think this view is short-sighted,” said Suranga Chandratillake. He is the partner of Balderton Capital who invested in Magic Pony Technology in 2015.
“It is, instead, a huge opportunity for Europe to be at the heart of the Artificial Intelligence revolution and do it off the back of US investment.”
Magic Pony’s technology creates algorithms that can understand the features of imagery. Twitter will use it to enhance the strength in live and video. It opens up a whole lot of exciting creative possibilities for Twitter.