IL MAKIAGE is a tech-driven beauty brand focused on “using unparalleled technology to connect people with superior, painstakingly tested, beauty products.” To make this mission a reality, the company is focusing on expanding its tech stack, most recently with the acquisition of Voyage81, an AI-based computational imaging startup, for $40+ million.
The purchase will give IL MAKIAGE access to patented hyperspectral imaging systems that will help enhance its existing machine learning feature set and support its commitment to innovation in the beauty and wellness sectors. In fact, this is IL MAKIAGE’s second technology acquisition in the last 24 months, demonstrating the company’s focus on building its competitive infrastructure.
“For the past two years, we have been searching for computational imaging solutions that can work in beauty and wellness to further advance our existing AI capabilities,” said Oran Holtzman, CEO of IL MAKIAGE in a statement. “I have met dozens of computer vision startups but could not find a technology that can fit our industry and was strong enough to fulfill our goals. Bringing on Voyage81’s patented technology and exceptional team to our tech and data science departments is a huge win for our company’s future, our users, and the industry at-large.”
IL MAKIAGE joins a growing list of retail and consumer brands that are acquiring tech companies to bolster their data-driven capabilities. In May 2021, Walmart acquired Zeekit, another Israeli startup that uses real-time imaging, computer vision and AI to create a digital fitting room experience for shoppers. Even smaller companies like 1822 Denim have been able to boost conversions and consumer confidence using this type of technology.
As more consumers browse and buy online, tools and content designed to increase trust and reduce returns will become increasingly valuable, with computer vision and AI-powered try-on tech particularly hot spaces. GlobalData estimates that the computer vision market will reach $28 billion by 2030, up from just $3.5 billion in 2019. The global virtual fitting room market is expected to reach $15.43 billion by 2028, according to Grand View Research.
Although consumers don’t need insight into “fit” for cosmetics and skincare, IL MAKIAGE will undoubtedly benefit from getting more clarity into consumer skin type, tone, texture and more — all of which impact makeup choices including colors and finishes.
Vision Tech More Sensitive Than the Human Eye
Voyage81 was founded in 2019 by CEO Niv Price, former head of R&D at Unit 81 in the Israeli Defense Forces; CTO Dr. Boaz Arad, who has a Ph.D. in Computer Vision and is a key opinion leader in the hyperspectral space; Dr. Rafi Gidron, a hi-tech serial entrepreneur; and Omer Shwartz, who has a Ph.D. in cybersecurity. With the acquisition, Price, Arad and Shwartz will take leadership roles in IL MAKIAGE. Price will serve as CTO, Dr. Arad will serve as Chief Vision Officer, while Shwartz will serve as VP of Information Security. All three also will continue to lead Voyage81 as CEO, CTO and Software Lead.
Voyage81’s patented software was designed to extract 31 channels of hyperspectral information from traditional images taken with existing smartphone cameras. In a company announcement, IL MAKIAGE representatives explained that these capabilities will allow the brand’s AI to “see” beyond the human eye, which can only identify three wavelengths (red, green and blue) of light.
The Voyage81 software is capable of mapping and analyzing skin and hair features, detecting facial blood flows, creating melanin and hemoglobin maps and more. Combining these powerful capabilities with its existing AI will empower IL MAKIAGE to level up its online matching tool, which is available through consumer-grade smartphone cameras. The acquisition also will give IL MAKIAGE access to a new hardware-based solution that Voyage81 is developing with smartphone manufacturers to help enhance photos taken in low-light environments.
IL MAKIAGE promises ecommerce shoppers a “new way to shop beauty online” that brings consumers’ favorite influencers, the “hottest” looks, tutorials and recommended products into one easy-to-shop experience. Shoppers also can access foundation and concealer quizzes that help them find the right match for their skin tone and texture, and try that shade for 14 days risk free.
Adding powerful computer vision to its strong foundation in data- and AI-powered tools will be “immense” for IL MAKIAGE’s technological advancements, according to Holtzman. “The software-only hyperspectral expansion, which requires only a traditional image from any smartphone camera, will be immediately integrated into the company’s consumer experience,” he said. “The addition of these vision capabilities provides another dimension of information which will allow us to rapidly expand our capabilities in existing and future domains, with lower amounts of data needed for our machine learning models.”