Imperial Innovations Group has made a further investment in UK visual search business Cortexica Visual Systems, this time to the tune of $3.45 million (£2.3 million).

Cortexica supplies SaaS-based visual search technology and is headquartered in London with offices in New York and San Francisco. Cortexica works with businesses in the retail sector and helps them increase transactions through mobile and ecommerce platforms.

Customers of Cortexica include Very.co.uk. Image credit: Cortexica

Cortexica’s core product is findSimilar, which returns “inspiring products” from a retailer's digital inventory when customers submit a photograph of an item they want with their mobile device. In recent months the company has signed up a number of major traditional and online retailers, including Macy’s, Very.co.uk and Zalando as customers.

Cortexica says the latest Imperial Innovations investment will be used to “complete the development of next generation products”, due for release this mid-year, and also for an expansion into the Asian market.

Cortexica says its patented findSimilar technology uses algorithms to “mimic processes found in the human visual cortex” to recognise content from digitally captured images and videos. The technology was based on research undertaken at Imperial College London.

Before the new investment, as of 31 July 2014, Innovations held a 30 percent share in Cortexica, said to be worth £5.4 million. Imperial Innovations is owned by Imperial College and acts as a technology transfer operation to commercialise its research. It also has strong research investment links to Oxford and Cambridge universities.

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