Eyeware raises CHF 1.9M to bring 3D Eye Tracking to Consumer Devices
January 17, 2019
3D eye tracking startup Eyeware closes its first round of CHF 1.9M in venture funding. Expert in computer vision, Eyeware develops software that enables consumer devices, cars and robots with 3D cameras to sense and analyze the attention of users.
The Swiss deep tech startup Eyeware announced today the closing of its seed financing round of 1.9M CHF ($1.9M USD). Eyeware develops 3D eye tracking software for depth sensing enabled consumer devices. The seed round was led by High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), in partnership with TRUMPF Venture GmbH, Swiss Startup Group, and Zurich Kantonalbank.
Eyeware is a spin-off of Idiap Research Institute and EPFL. Created in September 2016, Eyeware Tech SA has collaborated with multiple industrial partners to prototype and develop innovative eye tracking applications. One of the projects presented publicly is the BionicWorkplace: a concept for a futuristic factory workplace containing a collaborative robotic arm developed by the German corporate Festo and presented at the Hannover Messe 2018.
More recently, Eyeware technology was presented as part of an automotive solution during CES 2019. Eyeware software can use autograde time-of-flight cameras to estimate attention of drivers for in-cabin monitoring and infotainment systems. The proposed system can contribute to reducing the number of road accidents caused by drivers who lose attention at the wheel.
The capital will be used by the Eyeware team to bring the 3D eye tracking development kit ready for integration into consumer applications. Eyeware is also looking to expand its corporate partnerships in the US and China.
Speaking about the investment, Dr. Kenneth Funes, Founder & CEO of Eyeware said: “Our vision is to enable communication with machines in a natural and intuitive way, just like you would with a friend standing in front of you. Eye tracking and attention sensing is a game changing technology for human-machine communication, as it will make interaction with our devices faster, more intuitive and more accessible.
“Eyeware technology is the result of intensive research, and we are confident to be opening the doors for exciting new opportunities in eye tracking applications for daily use. We have been extremely fortunate to receive the support of a well-connected and experienced group of investors that shares our vision and is committed to work with us to achieve it.”
Axel Nitsch, Investment Manager at HTGF, said about the investment in Eyeware: “Eyeware’s revolutionary approach to enable attention understanding in industrial and consumer applications brings state-of-the-art technology to a next level. We have a strong belief that the extraordinary team around Kenneth will be able to change the landscape of human machine interaction. HTGF is very happy to be part of this journey.”
Dr. Dieter Kraft, Managing Director of TRUMPF Venture and Board member of Eyeware, also commented that: “Attention sensing by eye tracking is the missing link in a multimodal human machine interaction. We are delighted to support the Eyeware team and help to bring the product to market.”
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Eyeware is a Swiss computer vision startup developing 3D eye tracking software for consumer cameras with depth sensing. Eyeware launched in September 2016, as a spin-off from the Idiap Research Institute, with the mission to bring 3D eye tracking to consumer devices. In collaboration with industrial partners, Eyeware is bringing to market attention sensing applications in multiple industries, including robotics, automotive, healthcare, consumer devices, and retail
About Trumpf Venture
The high-tech company TRUMPF offers production solutions in the machine tool and laser sectors. With our corporate venture capital arm TRUMPF Venture, we are both a strategic partner and a venture capital investor for startups with an industrial focus. The TRUMPF group has about 13,400 employees in nearly all the countries of Europe, North and South America, and Asia and achieved sales of 3.6 billion euros in fiscal 2017/18.
About Swiss Startup Group
The SWISS STARTUP GROUP is a privately financed Swiss venture platform to scout, analyze, accelerate and invest in the most promising early stage startups. Within the last years, SSUG has created a unique business execution platform where top early stage startups, venture investors, corporate partners, academic partners and mentors meet, exchange, accelerate and invest.
About Zurich Kantonalbank
Zurich Kantonalbank (ZKB) is the biggest cantonal bank in Switzerland and one of the biggest Swiss banks, with total assets of CHF 164 billion and more than 5,000 employees.
About High-Tech Gründerfonds
High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) is a seed investor that finances high-potential, tech-driven start-ups. With EUR 892.5 million in total investment volume across three funds and an international network of partners, HTGF has already helped forge 500 start-ups since 2005. Driven by their expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and passion, its team of experienced investment managers and start-up experts help guide the development of young companies. HTGF’s focus is on high-tech start-ups in a range of sectors, including software, hardware and life sciences / chemistry.
This group also includes a number of success stories, such as Mister Spex, Rigontec, 6Wunderkinder, Next Kraftwerke and Cumulocity, as well as Juniqe, an online shop for art enthusiasts. To date, external investors have injected over EUR 1.9 billion into the HTGF portfolio via about 1,400 follow-on financing rounds.