10 Startups to Watch: Luminate

Company's Mission: 'Make Images More Interactive' on Web

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There are more than 3 trillion images on the web, Luminate execs like to say. And while the diversity of those images is enormous, there's no straightforward way to identify and capitalize on the contents of those images. Enter Luminate. Launched as Pixazza three years ago by Jim Everingham, the company's mission sounds simple: "to make images more interactive," as Chief Revenue Officer Chas Edwards put it.

But in practice, it's anything but simple.

Luminate uses a combination of image-recognition software and human research to tag products and attributes found within images across the internet. Luminate then partners with online publishers to carry a single line of Javascript on their sites that overlays images with product carousels that link out to products for sale on external sites similar to those found in the photo.

Brand advertisers and merchants can partner with Luminate in four ways: with a product carousel takeover, a carousel sponsorship, an appearance as a featured merchant or with a visually-targeted banner ad within the carousel.

More than 5,000 sites carry Luminate-enhanced images, including AccessHollywood.com and Goal.com, according to Mr. Edwards, previously chief revenue officer of Digg and co-founder of Federated Media.

Luminate, based in Mountain View, Calif., also recently launched apps within images that allow readers to share an image, a section of an image, or even an annotated image from a publisher's sites out to their social networks.

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