Twitter Acquires AI startup Magic Pony Technology for reported £102m
Twitter today is taking another step to build up its machine learning muscle, and also potentially to improve how it delivers photos and videos across its apps: the company is acquiring Magic Pony Technology, a company based out of London that has developed techniques of using neural networks (systems that essentially are designed to think like human brains) and machine learning to provide expanded data for images — used, for example, to enhance a picture or video taken on a mobile phone; or to help develop graphics for virtual reality or augmented reality applications.
Terms of the deal are not being disclosed but we have two separate sources who tell us that Twitter is paying $150 million in all for the deal. This takes into account retention bonuses for the staff, which numbers about 11, 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 third machine learning startup Twitter has acquired, after Whetlab last year, and Madbits in 2014.
Magic Pony Technology had raised an undisclosed amount of money from investors like Octopus Ventures, Entrepreneur First and Balderton. One of Balderton’s ex-VC’s is actually a machine learning specialist at the company.