Enswers, a Seoul-based content recognition tech company that recently launched in the U.S., has received $2 million in funding from Samsung Ventures. Enswers has provided automatic content recognition for Samsung Smart TVs sold in the U.S. since 2012, as well as “Imideo,” a technology that finds videos from a screenshot, for Galaxy devices sold in Korea.
In a statement, Enswers said that the funding will allow it to further its expansion in the U.S. and North America, using the same business strategies as it has in Asia. It has forged content partnerships with companies like the Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) and Tokyo Broadcasting Systems (TBS), as well as Yahoo!7 in Australia, to create second-screen experiences.
For example, SBS used Enswers’ technology in an app it developed to encourage viewers to tune into live events during the London Olympics, which ran after midnight in Korea. The app checked in viewers by recognizing the sound of live games and rewarding them with virtual prizes.
Enswers has identified its main competitor in North America as Shazam, which recently updated its app to place a larger focus on TV results. Enswers differentiates from Shazam by providing a SDK for developers instead of making its own apps
The company also said that it will “aggressively explore a wide range of industries and develop creative applications of [automatic content recognition] to recreate new business opportunities.”
Enswers was founded in 2007 and is now an independent subsidiary of KT (formerly Korea Telecom). Enswers America CEO J.P. Lee said, “As TV sales reach saturation point, Samsung has been thinking of new business models. One of which is to distribute smart TVs as a content platform capable of providing complementary programming, t-commerce, and real-time analytics. Our technology, as well as our extensive experience in the ACR space, has demonstrated that Enswers is a good fit with Samsung’s future strategy.”