NEWS19 July 2011

Kantar invests $3m in emotional researcher Affectiva

M&A North America

US— WPP’s Kantar research division has made a $3m minority investment in Affectiva, which develops technology for measuring emotions.

Kantar said the companies “will form a strategic and commercial partnership to leverage the combination of survey-based and technology-enabled observational data”.

Affectiva was founded in 2009 by Rosalind Picard and Rana el Kaliouby (pictured), and is led by president and CEO David Berman. The firm’s Affdex software uses webcams to read people’s facial expressions while they watch videos or use websites, and earlier this year it unveiled a wristband equipped with sensors that measure electrical activity in the skin.

Picard and el Kaliouby had previously worked together at MIT on technology to help people with autism to understand emotional communication.

The company is working on technology to measure people’s heart rate through a webcam, by monitoring the reflectivity of the skin.

Kantar’s investment is part of a $5.7m Series B financing round, co-led by Myrian Capital.