4 APRIL 2022
Turning pictures and videos into extraordinary experiences
Imagine you can restore your ancestors’ photos and have them speak to you. Imagine if students can learn physics directly from Isaac Newton. And imagine if your favourite celebrity just gave you a personalised birthday video message.
With D-ID, all of that is possible, and we are really excited to announce our investment in their US$25 million Series B round.
D-ID is an AI-driven platform that allows creators and developers to generate realistic personas easily and ethically. From just a single low-quality image, users can bring a person to life and have them re-enact speech and motion.
How it works
- Live Portrait breathes life into any still photo. The Live Portrait process uses a driver video to animate a person in a still photo to precisely match the driver’s head movement, facial expressions, emotions and even voice.
- Face Lit allows you to change facial expressions at the touch of a button. Using the re-enactment technology, users can control expressions in photos by playing with specific attributes like smiling, raising eyebrows, winking and so on.
- Speaking Portrait allows the people in the animated photos to ‘speak’ by training a neural network using videos of people talking, in order to get the lips in the photos matched to the words the users provided.
What brings these products to life is D-ID’s proprietary state of the art face detection and synthesis machine learning algorithms. The unique augmentation and synthesis methods, plus many years of data collection, modifications and training mean that their models are distinctly tuned to give leading results in the field.
Over the coming months, D-ID aims to release their one-stop self-service platform that brings together all of their tools for creators, production companies, marketing agencies and product teams.
Part of what was an absolute standout to our team, is D-ID’s focus on user privacy and safety. All activities on D-ID are monitored and can be proactively moderated. All user input data is deleted after 24 hours, and no personally identifiable information (PII) data is collected. The team is advised and scrutinised by the Chief Privacy Officer at Microsoft Richard Purcell, co-inventor of the RSA algorithm Professor Adi Shamir and other experts in global privacy and cybersecurity.
The team behind the magic
To us, the team is what blew us away even more than the technology – and the technology is absolutely gobsmacking. D-ID's founding team is one of the most talented we’ve seen and have a unique bond that’s rare to find.
The co-founders Gil Perry and Sella Blondheim met at Sayeret Matkal, one of the most elite special units in the Israel Defence Forces, and they then travelled the world together. The third co-founder Eliran Kuta worked alongside Gil when they were developers for a video chat company.
D-ID's co-founders have a great mix of technical and sales skills, and always leave us excited and looking forward to our next meeting.
The potential is endless
D-ID's underlying technology is an attractive tool for many different industries, such as family heritage and history, E-learning, sales enablement, corporate HR, training, communications and chatbots. As a superpower for creators and businesses, the users are constantly discovering new use cases for the technology.
In 2022, the team focus on two verticals:
The family heritage & history space, where animating still photos of family members never captured on video is a critical value-add, allowing businesses to acquire and upsell their customers. MyHeritage's app powered by D-ID, which animates photos of past family members, became the number one app in the US and 21 other countries, generating over 97 million animations.
The E-learning space, student engagement and retention are a huge priority for businesses. D-ID provides companies an opportunity to stand out and provide unique experiences, using historical figures to create learning tools.
As the technology evolves, there are also natural expansion opportunities for D-ID, going from 2D face to 3D, full body and all the way to the full metaverse.
Through our due diligence process, we became quickly learned how far ahead D-ID's technology is from anyone else in the space. Customers are eager to invest and consistently chose D-ID over competitors because of their seamless and smooth technology that can turn a single image into anything they need. Their model has been tuned for the last five years through different use cases and collecting unique training data, meaning they are years ahead of anyone.
But more than the product, we believe in the team. The founders are exceptional, charismatic and have one of the most impressive backgrounds we have ever seen. The team shares a special history and is advised by some of the biggest names in deep learning, cybersecurity, and privacy. Originally focusing on identity protection, the co-founders demonstrated their strong business sense and ability to execute by quickly pivoting and capitalising the AI persona market.
We have all the confidence in the D-ID team, and we cannot wait to see what they do next.