Roblox announced today that it is buying a digital avatar startup called Loom.ai. Buying a company that is solely focused on creating more realistic human avatars is an interesting game for a gaming platform that has such an impact on gaining experience that tends to bring realism to life.
We covered the company's $ 1.35 million seed funding round in 2016. Since then, the company has provided additional seed funding and raised $ 5.9 million in total. The startup's investors include Y Combinator, Samsung Ventures, Anorak Capital and Zach Coelius.
The terms of the contract were not disclosed.
The startup was one of a long list of Avatar companies formed in mid-2010 that benefited from advances in computer vision and aimed to build a cross-game / cross-platform network of users who enjoyed creating in-app -Avatars relied on their technology. This business field aimed to seize opportunities in 3D that went beyond what companies like Snapchat had identified after acquiring Bitmoji.
Over the years, Loom.ai shifted its efforts from photorealism to creating Memoji-like renderings that allowed users to upload a 2D photo and automatically create a realistic 3D avatar. For the past few years, Loom.ai has been focusing heavily on business opportunities. The company's products also included a number of integrations for creating personalized avatar stickers that can be used on messaging platforms like Slack or WhatsApp, as well as live avatars that can be used on video calls.
While Roblox has some of the simpler avatars out there, this acquisition could suggest that the company is open to building a system that places more emphasis on realism and lifelike facial animation. In a press release announcing the deal, Roblox said the acquisition "will accelerate the development of next-generation avatars."