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19 March 2018

L’Oréal likes the look of ModiFace

ModiFace, founded by University of Toronto professor Parham Aarabi in 2006, has been acquired by L’Oréal for an undisclosed amount.

Author: Thierry Heles, editor

ModiFace, a Canada-based augmented reality technology spinout from University of Toronto, agreed to an acquisition by cosmetics brand L’Oréal on Friday for an undisclosed sum.

Founded in 2006, ModiFace has developed augmented reality and artificial intelligence technology that lets consumers see how a beauty product or hairstyle will affect their look in real time. The technology works both for photos and videos, and is being used by more than 100 brands.

The spinout is commercialising technology developed by Parham Aarabi, associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering.

Aarabi, who has served as chief executive since the company’s launch, will remain in that function following the deal’s closure. ModiFace will also retain its base in Toronto in order to continue its research partnerships with the university.

The transaction marks the first time that L’Oréal is acquiring a technology company. ModiFace will become part of L’Oréal’s digital services arm, Digital Services Factory, and collaborate with one of the corporate’s R&D units, Advanced Research.

ModiFace has not confirmed previous funding rounds. It raised $500,000 in seed funding from unnamed investors, according to TechCrunch, before adding $3.8m in series A capital from Ontario Centres of Excellence and undisclosed backers in 2012, according to PitchBook.

Aarabi said: “L’Oréal’s acquisition of ModiFace provides an incredible opportunity to innovate on beauty augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) at an unprecedented scale, the results of which will shape the beauty industry for the decades to come.

“Our entire team and I are extremely excited to be joining the L’Oréal family, and look forward to the AR/AI-enabled future that we will create together."

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