Larnabel Ventures, a fund led by Said Gutseriev to invest in the information technology sector, and VP Capital, a technology-focused investment vehicle founded by Viktor Prokopenya, today announced that they have made a $2 million investment in FaceMetrics, a startup that recently launched a parental control app based on Artificial Intelligence (“AI”). FaceMetrics is VP Capital and Larnabel Ventures’ fifth joint-investment in AI.
FaceMetrics is an innovative app that leverages AI and proprietary computer vision technology to report kids’ activity on smartphones and electronic devices to parents. Unlike other parental apps, FaceMetrics gamifies the control of kids’ screen time. Through FaceMetrics, parents can limit the time kids spend playing games and exchange that time for reading or study time.
While other parental apps offer scheduling, location-tracking, social activity monitoring, and call-tracking, FaceMetrics combines these features in one platform in a user-friendly way and adds tracking on the device camera. The app allows parents to track a number of parameters to, for example, determine the distance between the screen and the face and measure engagement. Here is how the app works in action:
- Leveraging the device’s camera, FaceMetrics’ patented technologies are able to follow the kids’ eye movement and determine whether they are reading, how carefully they are reading, and if they are too tired. As it tracks these parameters, the app delivers instructions to correct any problems.
- FaceMetrics rewards kids for diligence. The program sets goals for the children in a playful manner, tracks their progress against these goals and then delivers rewards accordingly.
- FaceMetrics builds in breaks and encourages children to put down the device after too much usage and can be set to turn itself off automatically if the kid is too tired.
- FaceMetrics also analyzes the kid’s mood, tracks their progress in speed and quality of reading, recommends books, helps to identify career preferences, and more.
The information is then provided to parents in a convenient, informative, and safe way. Parents are the only ones who can access data about their child through a secure, password-protected, account. The app complies with all the requirements of GDPR and COPPA.
“The app is not a supervisor but a friend. If you ban games, it will simply make them more appealing to kids,” said Mikhail Boyko, FaceMetrics’ CEO. “By leveraging state-of-the-art artificial intelligence technologies, FaceMetrics allows parents to propose a fair and enforceable trade-off to their children: an hour of reading time, for an hour of play time. After all, it’s not just about getting kids to read, but making sure they do it regularly and mindfully.”
“To get kids prepared to be the leaders of the future we need to make sure they study effectively today. The brain is our greatest asset and we can develop it only through knowledge,” said Viktor Prokopenya, Founder of VP Capital. “We are excited to be investing in FaceMetrics, by leveraging AI in innovative ways the Company has the potential to change children’s attitudes towards reading and learning.”
FaceMetrics’ technology is partly developed by Banuba, a startup that develops technologies for augmented reality-enabled mobile applications. Since VP Capital and Larnabel Ventures announced a $5 million investment in Banuba in February 2017, the company now has 25 technology patents pending, with six already approved. In October 2017, Banuba announced plans to work with ten startups based on the “technology for equity” model where startups are provided with technology, marketing, and investments in exchange for a share of their company. FaceMetrics is the second startup that was chosen.