Kuznech develops all-purpose image search tools for businesses

kuznech-screenFacebook alone claimed that that it received 7 petabytes worth of photo content monthly and 300 million photos per day from users in 2012 and that those figures were continually increasing. Attempting to search through photos on that and other sites is an enormous task, but Russian-founded Kuznech attempts to satisfy that need by offering companies technology such as facial-recognition and detection, similar-image search (by color and other parameters), duplicate-image search, and visual merchandise monitoring.

Kuznech claims 50+ customers at the moment for their B2B service, including clients such as Russian social-network Odnoklassniki, online retailer KupiVIP, microstock service Depositphotos, and others.

There are more than 60+ image-search and recognition competitors in this market, but Kuznech aims to become a leader by providing a variety of services. They are up against crowdsourced product-discovery services like Pinterest and Wanelo, recommendation-technology providers like RichRelevance, Strands, and Baynote, and image-search providers like Google, TinEye, and We:See, but are aiming to offer a little of each area to clients. A representative of Kuznech told me that they view Superfish (recommendation and image-search) as maybe the closest service and their primary rival.

Essentially, Kuznech uses propriety algorithms to identify photos based on 200 different parameters (color, composition, lines, textures, control points, etc.). Whereas other services might rely on user recommendations (Pinterest) or offer a generic image-search tool, Kuznech is hoping to become an all-purpose tool that can be useful for online retailers (finding similar products) or social networks (facial recognition) 0r news agencies.

Kuznech currently holds 3 patents in the U.S. and 3 in Russia. Their service remains in beta, but they are currently operating in the U.S., Canada, Russia, and Europe. Their business model involves SaaS (similar-product search for e-commerce companies) and licensing (e-commerce companies, microstocks, and social networks).

Kuznech was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in California, with an R&D center in Russia. They initially raised $1.2 million from the Russian government-backed Skolkovo Foundation and Pavel Cherkashin in 2011 and followed it up with 2 seed rounds totaling $725K from Cherkashin, Sergey Gribov, Valery Senko, Andrei Joosten, and Sasha Andreev. Most recently, the company obtained $18K in grant money as the winner at the 2012 edition of Ukrainian IT conference IDCEE.

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