Twitter Scoops Up Machine Learning Firm Magic Pony Technology

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey announced in a blog post that the company acquired machine learning outfit Magic Pony Technology.

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey announced in a blog post that the company acquired machine learning outfit Magic Pony Technology.

The London-based company’s focus was on visual processing.

Dorsey did not mention terms of the deal, but two sources told TechCrunch Twitter is paying $150 million for Magic Pony Technology, which factors in retention bonuses for its staff of about 11, including co-founder Zehan Wang and co-founder and CEO Rob Bishop.

Dorsey wrote in his blog post:

Machine learning is increasingly at the core of everything we build at Twitter. It’s powering much of the work we’re doing to make it easier to create, share and discover the very best content so that every time you open Twitter, you’re immersed in the most relevant news, stories and events for you.

Our acquisition of Magic Pony builds on other investments we’ve made in machine learning, beginning with the acquisitions of Madbits in July 2014 and Whetlab in June 2015. Magic Pony’s team will be joining Twitter Cortex, a team of engineers, data scientists and machine learning researchers dedicated to building a product in which people can easily find new experiences to share and participate in.

Magic Pony’s technology–based on research by the team to create algorithms that can understand the features of imagery–will be used to enhance our strength in live and video and opens up a whole lot of exciting creative possibilities for Twitter. The team includes 11 PhDs with expertise across computer vision, machine learning, high-performance computing and computational neuroscience, who are alumni of some of the top labs in the world.

And Magic Pony said on its homepage:

We’ve been developing state-of-the-art machine-learning-based approaches for visual processing on web, desktop and mobile over the past 18 months, filing over 20 international patents and publishing at top conferences along the way.

Today we’re excited to announce that we’re joining forces with Twitter to use our technology to improve the visual experiences that are delivered across their apps.

Together with Twitter, we’re looking forward to vastly accelerating our rate of research; growing our team, which will serve as the European home base for Twitter’s machine learning efforts; and continuing to publish. We’ve barely scratched the surface of what we think is possible in this area and are excited to see what the future holds.

Readers: What are your thoughts on Twitter’s new acquisition?