Startup Watch: GazeMetrix Lets Brands See If Logos Are Present in Instagram Photos

Of Companies Software Tracks, Starbucks Is Far and Away the Most Photographed

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WHAT IT IS:
GazeMetrix is an early stage startup with image-recognition software to let brands track where their logos are being photographed across social media. The current focus is on Instagram, but the six-person team -- half based in New Delhi, half in Mountain View, Calif. -- is adding functionality for Facebook and Twitter. The idea is to give brands a window into how their logos are representing them, as well as an opportunity to contact users who've posted photos of Starbucks cups or cats hugging Coke bottles, and ask for permission to republish them on their own channels.

Example of a GazeMetrix screenshot.
Example of a GazeMetrix screenshot.

ORIGINS:
As a side project, the three founders (who were colleagues at a cloud-computing company in New Delhi) built an app that let people install apps on their phones by pointing them at other mobile devices. They couldn't make hay out of the original idea, "but we had this interesting technology that could identify things inside a picture," said co-founder Deobrat Singh, 28. The image-recognition technology led to the current concept in August.

COMPETITION:
Instagram's rise is spawning an ecosystem of startups such as Statigram and Nitrogram looking to provide analytics to brands. Mr. Singh contends that GazeMetrix's ability to see what's inside photos without relying on hashtags to interpret which are relevant is its differentiator.

There's at least one example of a startup that 's successfully executed social-media analytics using image recognition. A company called Curalate launched a platform for Pinterest earlier this year that detects which pieces of branded content are circulating and can generate insights like which color of a retailer's new line of sweaters is the most popular. It's gotten pick-up from a wide cross-section of brands and agencies, including a licensing deal from GroupM Next, but for now it's still just focused on Pinterest.

Mr. Singh says that GazeMetrix is using its U.S. presence to woo potential customers and currently has one client signed up that proactively asked to try its services: an ad agency in Turkey. The company has a total $140,000 in seed funding.

BRAND WITH INSTAGRAM BRAGGING RIGHTS?
Of the 25 brands GazeMetrix is tracking, Starbucks is tops in terms of the volume of photos featuring its logo. Runners-up are Coca-Cola, BMW, Monster Energy, Google and Corona.

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