Gurgaon-based deep tech startup Spyne, on Monday (May 11), announced that it has raised fresh funding Pre-Series A round led by AngelList along with the participation of existing investor Smile Group.
Spyne’s founder Sanjay Kumar told Inc42 that the company raised INR 4.5 Cr in this round and Yatra’s CTO Manish Amin, OYO’s CTO Anil Goel, CEO of Sokrati Anubhav Sonthalia and Deepak Mittal of To The New, among others participated in the round.
The startup is planning to utilise the funding to build and reinforce the AI-based image editing suite. Kumar said the funding will also help in building the next set of computer vision and deep tech applications that can solve complex use cases such as auto-editing of images in a click, automated curation and quality check, on the go image and design generation. “This will enable us to open new markets in the coming months not only in India but thousands of businesses outside India,” he added.
The funding will also help the startup to aim for a Series A round which it is planning to raise between October 2020 to January 2021. Kumar said that the round might extend due to the Covid-19 economic slowdown.
Founded in 2018 by an IIT-Kharagpur alumni Sanjay Kumar and Deepti Prasad, Spyne is an AI-driven startup that offers ecommerce sellers and platforms with full-stack photography and editing solutions. The startup also provides photographers with a content management platform along with an opportunity to work for reputed companies.
Connecting Photographers With Businesses
Spyne connects businesses who want to conduct their photoshoots with the photographers registered on the platform. Kumar notes that it isn’t a marketplace while Spyne is a high-end photography tech company.
The startup has around 3,000 photographers in around 35 cities across India. Profiles of all these photographers are available on the SpyneShare platform. “We mention all the details such as cost, availability, portfolio, etc. of the photographers on our platform,” Kumar said.
Meanwhile, Spyne has also partnered with around 70 studios across the country where shoots for businesses are conducted. Spyne provides photoshoot services such as high-quality images, videos, social media content, 360-degree shots, and 3D rendering to businesses including ecommerce, real estate, fashion, Jewellery, and food. Last month, the company opened its first studio in Delhi NCR and added over 150 freelance photographers.
These businesses create an account and send requests related to Spyne based on their needs. “We map the request and assign a photographer for the task. The platform automatically sends the request from the client to the photographer with all the specifications. The entire tracking of the shoot is visible to both the client and the photographer,” Kumar said.
The AI Magic
Once the photo is shared by the photographer, Spyne takes care of the image processing leveraging its AI-powered engine. Spyne claims to be automating quite a few of the steps involved in image processing. Kumar said that Spyne’s computer vision models analyses the images and automatically identifies the margin in the photographs.
Spyne claims that in the area of image processing and image checks, Spyne’s AI engine can process images much faster than a normal editor. “An editor can manually edit at max 150 images per day. However, Spyne’s editing suite can accomplish hundreds of edited images in minutes,” Kumar said.
Moreover, the platform is said to be capable of maintaining the necessary quality checks required on different ecommerce platforms. For instance, if a photo is shot with a white background but the marketplace’s guidelines allow only blue background then an editor will have to crop an image while adjusting the margins. “On Spyne, everything is automated,” Kumar said.
Spyne’s engine also processes images according to the needs of various marketplaces. Kumar explained that the platform automatically adjusts all the measurements such as margins, colour contrast, brightness, among other things. Spyne claims to be guaranteeing up to 90% margins, 99.9% accuracy, and 100% on-time delivery.
The startup claims that the AI-engine is capable of removing moles, wrinkles, and tattoos from the face or the body of a model. “In the image processing space, there are 15-16 such problems and we have already solved around eight of them. This has increased our image editing efficiency by 70-80%,” he added.
Post-Covid Expansion & More
As of now, ecommerce platforms are facing major disruption due to the Covid-19 lockdown. This has also put a halt to the business of Spyne as well. “We are not getting any substantial work right now,” Kumar said.
However, Kumar hopes that things might change soon as ecommerce is already back on track in the orange and green zones. “In the next 15-20 days, ecommerce will make a full comeback to the stream,” Kumar said.
Meanwhile, Spyne is planning to expand the business to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities in India. After this, the startup is eying to expand in international geographies of South-Asia and the Middle East.