Who’s Who In Image Analysis Industry

Demystifying Image SaaS Solutions

Recently we published infographic on the current state of the image analysis industry. We do not pretend we’ve included everybody working on that matter but the infographic gives quite good idea what’s on the market and how different companies are approaching the problem of helping out people and businesses better use and organize their image collections.

It’s all about images and video. Over 1B picture are take each day thanks to relatively accessible DSLRs and unprofessional cameras, but mostly because 2/3 of smart mobile phone owners connect to internet on a daily basis, take pictures and share them quickly. Image centric services like Instagram, Pinterest, 500px, Flickr are widely used. The need for scalable solutions and technologies to ease that process of uploading, storing and organizing images is so viable.

There are several types of image automation technologies currently on the market:

  • Streaming/Channeling: image feeds from third-party sources on a topic your users are interested in, e.g. “US elections 2012″, “Paris”, “Steve Jobs” via Instagram, Flickr, 500px etc.
  • Image editing: end-users are provided with tools to edit images, apply filters, etc. directly in the mobile and/or in the web apps
  • Basic image processing (and eventually image hosting): generate (and eventually host) thumbnails, crop images, apply filters
  • Template matching: recognize predefined “template” images; useful for recognition of book/CD covers, labels, posters, landmarks; kind of “sexier” alternative to QR codes in mobile apps
  • Face detection and facial recognition: detect faces and/or recognize faces of particular persons and face-tag them
  • Visual or multi-color search: “offline” indexing of the images coupled with search functionality based on the extracted visual features or colors
  • Image categorization and auto-tagging: recognizing various pre-defined categories, concepts or objects present in an image

All this currently available technologies can be integrated in various ways to better serve it’s customers. The most typical are:

  • Cloud / Web-service (typically REST API)
  • On-premise / Self-hosted solution
  • Widget
  • Compiled Library (desktop or mobile)

Lets not forget that we need to make money. So far there are several billing options as listed below, but most of them depend directly or indirectly on the number of images processed and/or the processing hours spent and/or GBs of traffic

  • Subscription: based on some of the usage factors above, typically monthly recurring payment
  • Utility based: typically pay as you go bills based on some of the usage factors above, at the end of each month
  • Licensing: typically for ‘on-premise’ solutions and libraries; one-time fee, or annual renewal fee

Here’s short list of some key players on the market (disclaimer: these are just the companies we are aware of. Your startup can also be doing something related to image analysis, we haven’t missed it on purpose. Leave a comment below and we will be more than happy to enlist you as well). The companies are listed in alphabetical order and not in order of significance:

  • Blitline – basic image processing; cloud solution; utility based pricing
  • Chute – image streaming; widgets; subscription pricing
  • Cloudinary (basic image processing & hosting; cloud solution; subscription pricing)
  • Face.com acquired by Facebook – facial recognition
  • Idee Labs – reverse image search as in their Tineye, mutli-color search; library/cloud; license/subscription pricing
  • Imagga – color search, smart cropping, auto-tagging, categorization, similarity search; cloud solution; subscription/utility pricing
  • IQ engines – template matching, categorization; cloud solution / library; subscription pricing
  • Kooba – template matching; cloud solution; subscription pricing
  • Lambda Labs – face detection and facial recognition; cloud solution; subscription pricing
  • LTU Technologies – color search, similarity search, template matching; on-premise/cloud solution; license/utility pricing
  • Recognize.im – template matching; cloud solution; subscription/utility pricing
  • Aviary – image editing; mobile and web libraries; subscription pricing)
  • Pixolution – visual similarity, color similarity; on-premise solution / library; subscription
  • Kuznech – image search and shopping tagging

Imagga Pitching at TechCrunch Sofia Meetup

TC Meetups Balkans

To be under the spot of TC is the ultimate desire of any startup all over the world. We all have sent friendly mails to Mike Butcher and the rest kindly asking to consider covering our great startups. Some passed through, some didn’t  Hey, we all believe our product/service are game changers, so we never give up. I’ve even spoken to top tire venture capitalist from KPCB October last year, and one of his main remarks were: “If you are not a favorite of TC, you are doomed.”

Good news is TC came to visit. Having John Biggs, TC east cost editor, in Sofia two days ago is big win for the Bulgarian startup community. Many thanks for Ivan from Netocratic for making it happen. We even ended up owning John’s 3D printed head, that’s proudly displayed in our office. Nice reminder to ping him any time something significant comes up from Imagga.

Georgie at Techrunch Sofia Meetup

Imagga was invited to present as one of the preselected 7 Bulgarian funded teams (2 from LAUNCHub and 5 from Eleven). Georgi did great presenting Imagga. Some of the questions after presentation were about the competitive landscape and our sales efforts.

It’s great Bulgaria is finally on the map of the TechCrunch and other media covering tech startups. We strongly believe the region is not covered enough and great tech potential is sparsely hidden here and there in the Balkan cities. There’s new entrepreneurship wave arising and we believe Bulgaria and particularly Sofia has the chance to stand out. There is growing startup community, co-working places fill to the brim, startup events almost every night, lots of tech savvy, ready to move out of big corporations guys, and last but not least funding opportunities in the face of LAUNCHub, Eleven and some angle investors.

New Members of Imagga Team

Ivan & Georgi

We are quite happy to announce two new members of Imagga family – Ivan and Georgi. We’ve got them on board just days after securing $260K seed round from LAUNCHub. It’s exciting to have some fresh geek blood in the company, hey, great things are to come!

We’ve known Ivan & Georgi for almost two years. Chris first met them at WebLoz, web design and web development competition for high school students and was immediately impressed by their passion for coding, great ideas and awesome execution. Last year Chris & Pavel worked together with Georgi & Ivan on interesting e-learning platform for a Swiss company and here we go now – part of Imagga team.

Ivan is passionate about software development, photography and cycling. For the last 4 years he and Georgi have participated in numerous software dev hackathons, and during the last two years won the 1st prize on the national IT competition. He is also keen on mastering artificial intelligence and computer vision.

I wanted to become part of Imagga as I believe it has great potential to create innovative solutions in the field of computer vision and particularly image understanding technologies – hi-tech sector with awesome potential to grow in the coming years.

Ivan has mastered PHP, Python and JavaScript, but can also “speak” Perl, Ruby, C++ and Objective-С, not to mention HTML5 and tools like CoffeeScript, Sass and so on.

Georgi started learning Photoshop in 5 grade. Soon enough he started programming using PHP. In high school he added C++ to the his programming skills. Back then he wanted to develop games but now he shifted to web development using Python and Node.js. His current passion is JavaScript.

What really attracted me to join Imagga’s team is my strong drive to be part of a startup and to advance in an area of great interest to me – computer vision. I really like to learn new stuff, and working for Imagga will give me a chance to do so.

Guys, welcome to Imagga, it will be a great journey!

Imagga Secures $260K in Seed Funding to Make Image Organization Simple

Launchub Logo

We are happy to announce Imagga got $260K funding from LAUNCHub, a 9M Euro Seed & Acceleration fund (financial instrument of the JEREMIE initiative of the EIF and EC) that invests in startup companies, and $90K from several private investors. Small portion of this investment amount is for buying out of the shares of a previous micro-seed investor, OpenFund.

Imagga democratizes image understanding technologies by wrapping them in a cloud platform of powerful APIs that allow auto-cropping, color extraction & search, categorization and auto-tagging of large image collections. Imagga APIs allow owners of large image collections to automate the process of analyzing, organizing and searching through the images inside their collections on a SaaS basis.

Imagga’s flagship technology is auto-tagging – automated image annotation, that helps businesses and individuals with vast image collection to add meaning to every single image and to better organize images.  Tagging is time consuming, highly dependant on human labor process, but extremely crucial for image intensive businesses. The ability to ease the that process by automating it and making it almost real time, is Imagga’s goal.

The investment from LAUNCHub will help Imagga focus on maturing all image technologies currently in development – color and multi-color search, auto-cropping, auto-categorization, visual similarity and specially image auto-tagging. The company plans to speed up its research efforts as well as it’s growing its customer base.

Daily more than 1B images are take, 500M of which are shared publicly. Private and public image collections are growing with speed unimaginable. Organizing all that images and getting advantage of them is significant pain for business in lots of business verticals. Imagga provides easy to integrate APIs, offered as software-as-service and soon subscriptions.

We are also pleased to announce two partnerships for distributing our APIs. Blitline provides industrial strength online image processing and has added Imagga’s APIs to their offering. Mahsape is a world-class API marketplace and Imagga APIs are available for integration to their steadily growing developer community.

Georgi in Forbes Bulgaria 30 under 30

Forbes Georgi 30 under 30

Forbes Bulgaria acknowledged Georgi Kadrev, 28, co-founder of Imagga as one of the 30 under 30 talents of Bulgaria. He didn’t make it to the cover, but may be next time with some even more exciting news about Imagga.

Georgi has been one of the youngest tech entrepreneurs fired up to start his own business while studying in Sofia University. While most of the tech students strive for career in the outsourcing industry or big names like HP, SAP, VMWare that have offices in Sofia, Georgi was always thinking of changing the world by inventing new image analysis algorithms and making them commercially available. That’s how Imagga was born.

We are extremely proud to have Georgi on board, motivated, inspiring, a bit crazy, always fair, big player

Next time, picture like that but from Forbes (not Forbes Bulgaria)

Python API client and Color Search in Instagram

We are excited to have our API available for out-of-the-box development in one more major platform – Python!


Ivan Penchev was enthusiastic to port the PHP client in Python and no sooner said than done – here it is https://github.com/ivanpenchev/imagga-py.

In no time Georgi Kostadinov put it at work, and what a better way to try it than prototyping basic tool that searches among recent Instagram photos based on colors, using Imagga Color API. He was kind to publish his code as well: https://github.com/gkostadinov/Instagram-Color-Search-Python.

Instagram Color Search

Instagram Color Search prototype

Thank you guys, you’re awesome!

You can try our APIs by applying for trial account at www.imagga.com. Currently we have PHP, Java, Ruby and Python clients for our APIs.

Demystifying Image SaaS Solutions (Infographic)

In most cases when people hear we do image processing & analysis, they exclaim “Oh, I see, face detection! That’s cool!” Well, that’s not all we can do, definitely not the most sexiest of the currently available image technologies but by far the most popular. This is why we decided to do an overview of various image understanding technologies, what integration options are available, and what business models are currently used in the Image Software-as-a-Service world. What better way to convey such message than with an image

ImageSaaS demystifying infographic

Feel free to spread the word and share the infographic! If you decide to share only the image and not the whole blog post, please link back to it somehow.

For your convenience, here are links to some of the key image SaaS players: Blitline, Chute, Cloudinary, Aviary, Recognize.im, Pixolution, Imagga, IQ Engines, Kooba, Lambda Labs, LTU technologies, Idee Inc.

If you know or you are part of some significant image SaaS provider that we’ve missed – please, comment here and we may include it in the next version of the infographic

Imagga at Photo Hack Day Berlin

It was exciting to be in Berlin for Photo Hack Day 3 organized by EyeEm. The start of the trip was quite challenging – lightning struck the Bulgaria Air plane we were supposed to take for Berlin. At least there was quite good internet connection at Sofia Airport so the 3 hours waiting for the aircraft replacement were not completely wasted. The journey started with a beautiful rainbow over the  airport that we managed to fly over. Good sign for what’s to come in Berlin.


Berlin is lovely. Getting around is quite easy. The startup ecosystem is thriving so there are lots of opportunities to network. Straight from the airport we ended up attending Uber barbecue marking the startup’s operations in Berlin. Met lovely new people, all with interesting story and a startup. Need to say that if you have not been in Berlin, you will be surprised how interesting the startup scene is. The spirit of Berlin can be seen in the way people dress, live, talk, interact. It’s a vivid mixture of the modern world with a small hipster touch that can be easily seen everywhere.

PHD3 Berlin

And here we are at Photo Hack Day opening, where Georgi presented Imagga APIs. It’s interesting to see some competitors also presenting and partnering the event. This is the third edition of Photo Hack Day organized by EyeEm in Berlin.

The event itself was awesome. Over 150 hackers attended and the crowd was really international – lots of local talent, but also some Americans, French, Norwegians, etc. The API partners had awesome technologies for the participants to play with, including Imagga’s color search and smart-cropping. Right after partners announcements and the hack ideas were presented, there was an instant team formation. Maybe the use of a great service like Hacker League helped people to get to know each other and form teams easily.

Georgi presenting Imagga APIs

Imagga’s APIs were quite interesting to the participants. Almost half of the teams signed up, which is great. Two of the teams actually used the APIs at the end. Our special prize went to Ambeer – awesome idea that uses Imagga Color API to recognize the predominant colors of an image and then add ambient light in the room. It’s awesome that Imagga’s technology that made the magic work. The idea also got $250 in cash and $2500 in API usage from us. The project also won the official 2nd prize of the event, so some additional recognition for Imagga as well.

The team that won Imagga's prize

Even though we were API partners during the event, we couldn’t resist Fotolia’s challenge to hack something with Imagga and Fotolia APIs. The idea was born in a very interesting conversation on the future of micro-stock photography and how Imagga’s auto-tagging can actually be of benefit for the photographers in both saving time for tagging and improving the quality of the tags. So out of that the idea ‘Pimp Ma Tagzzz’ was born. It plugs Fotolia APIs and pulls search results from there. When you select a picture, we display Fotolia tags along with tags automatically generated by TaggRe (this is the fancy name we use for our auto-tagging technology). The words that are present in both tag clouds are colored in gray and the new tags that we suggest are in blue. Some of them are emphasized in bold to show they are considered as top search keywords in Fotolia. The auto-tagging technology is still in production mode and there is room for improvement of the tags’ quality. But even with the current state of the technology it’s visible we can help photographers significantly improve their image ratings by auto suggesting relevant tags. 

Imagga / Fotolia hach

Visiting Berlin and being part of the startup ecosystem just for a weekend was awesome experience. We will be coming back soon!

Imagga is finalist at BkVF startup competition

Imagga @ BkVF Sofia

Balkan Venture Forum is a regional event, aiming at encouraging entrepreneurship on the Balkans and building bridges between the local communities and other tech hubs in Europe and beyond.

Imagga was selected to take part in the startup competition. Our goal was to showcase our progress and also share knowledge and best practices with the other participants of the forum. Georgi did awesome presentation and answered the jury questions straightforward.

We are very happy to announce we were one of the finalists at the startup competition. It’s a small leap towards the bright future, that we envision as game changers in the image analysis. You will be seeing more of Imagga in the coming events here and there.


We also want to take the chance to thank the organizers for the great job. Without the thriving entrepreneurship ecosystem this event would not be possible, so a huge thumbs up for all the bold and sexy Bulgarian entrepreneurs, event organizers and friends. We hope to make Sofia really attractive for other startups from the region and why not make it regional startup hub.

Imagga at BkVF startup challenge

Imagga at BkVF

Imagga will be taking part in the startup challenge during Balkan Venture Forum, that will take place in Sofia, May 21-22. BkVF is regional event that aims to showcase innovative companies to active investors and promote innovation and entrepreneurship.

We believe Imagga’s technology is quite innovative and hope it will be good match for the investors present. During the last couple of months our focus was solely on improving the technology and growing our customer base, so it’s quite exciting to step up on the pitching stage and share our progress.

Going to events it’s great, well, if that’s not all that you do. We will be at BkVF for networking, validating new ideas, getting to know prospective clients and meeting investors. We are also hiring so it will be great match if the best tech developers of the region happen to be there so we can meet and talk.

One of the fist times we pitched Imagga was at Mini Seedcamp London couple of years ago. It’s probably not a coincidence that Seedcamp comes to Sofia exactly during BkVF. Things have changed in the Bulgarian startup scene, and it’s exciting to start, work and innovate here in the region.

Ah, do we party? Yes, see you at the parties, there will be several!