Tokyo-based mobile tech start-up developing photo recognition apps, J-Magic[J] is now said to shut down its business and office very shortly, some sources say. The company was founded four years ago by Mr. Takuya Miyata[J] (@takmiyata[J]), the former CEO of Santa Monica-based biometrics and photo recognition tech venture Neven Vision (acquired by Google in 2006, refer to this TechCrunch article for that), and it’s well known for having developed a series of mobile application titles using Oki Electric‘s photo recognition technology, such as Kao-Cheki, AdPhoto and Magic Loupe.
- Kao-Cheki: By taking someone’s portrait with a cellphone embedded camera, the app tells you which celebrities he/she resembles.
- AdPhoto: Unlike text-based search advertising services, the system finds what pictures are placed on a website and provides a series of appropriate ads to the website in accordance with the result of image analysis.
- Magic Loupe: Designed for the consumer use at bookstores, DVD rental stores and other street retail services. When you find an interesting title at the stores, you can find reviews commented on that by someone who has viewed it, just by capturing its cover or artwork picture. With this app, you no longer need to trace 2-D barcodes on the merchandise packages to find something.
Meanwhile, Mobile Factory[J], an Internet promotion service and mobile content provider and a subsidiary of JASDAQ-listed Internet ad agency Opt, announced it would take over Kao-Cheki including the service operating staffs who had been formerly employed by J-Magic.
J-Magic won the TechVenture 2008 award (refer to Asiajin author Serkan Toto’s Tokyotronic), an annual tech start-up presentation contest which is hosted by CNET Japan (now, Asahi Interactive[J]). J-Magic is share-owned by Tokio Marine Capital, Mizuho Capital, Orix Capital, Olympus Optical and Rakuten Strategic Partners[J], and worth about USD350M. The company has made no announcement on the reason why it shuts down.