Alibaba acquires Israeli augmented reality start-up InfinityAR – Hi tech news

Jack Ma, founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, laughs during an event

Jack Ma, founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, laughs during an event at the Tel Aviv University, Israel May 3, 2018.
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)


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Jack Ma’s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group has acquired Ramat-Gan based augmented reality start-up Infinity Augmented Reality, the companies announced on Sunday.

While no financial details regarding the acquisition were disclosed, financial daily Globes cited market sources estimating a deal in excess of $10 million.

Founded in 2013, InfinityAR is a provider of an operating system turning augmented reality glasses into a content augmentation platform, based on its own inside-out Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) solution.

Under the agreement, InfinityAR will join Alibaba’s Herzliya-based Machine Vision Laboratory, established by Alibaba’s DAMO Academy, the e-commerce giant’s $15 billion technological innovation arm located in seven cities worldwide.

“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, Chief Executive Officer 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.”

InfinityAR has been working with Alibaba since 2016 when Jack Ma’s group led an $18m. Series C financing round for the company, in partnership with Japanese IT and entertainment firm Sun Corporation.

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

“The talented team brings unique knowhow 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.”

The acquisition of InfinityAR represents Alibaba’s second purchase of an Israeli company to date, buying Israeli start-up Visualead in November 2017.

In December 2018, the Alibaba Group made a strategic investment in Tel Aviv-based public transit optimization start-up 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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