EyeQ acquires Athentech, maker of Perfectly Clear image-correction technology

EyeQ Inc., a new company made up of photo industry veterans, has acquired Athentech Imaging, the Canada-based maker of image-correction technology. The Athentech management continues with the new company and has added some management expertise to change direction. Details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The Dead Pixels Society talked with Ziv Gillat, the company’s chief revenue officer, about the new direction the EyeQ management will take Athentech’s technology and products. From the start, EyeQ will begin looking at expanding its portfolio, particularly in color science and in artificial intelligence (AI). (See the press release below for details).

“We created this new company (EyeQ) to start buying companies, and Athentech was one of those,” explains Gillat. “We brought in Eran (Steinberg) as chairman of the board, and kept most of the team. We have hired some pretty amazing PhDs to work on AI, image science, and web we have announced. We have 15 people, of which 12 of those are engineers [around the world]. Jeff (Stephens), the CTO, is in Austin, I’m in the Bay Area, and Brad (Malcolm) is in Calgary.

Gillat says the EyeQ acquisition strategy will be to focus on the b-to-b market, although Athentech’s Perfectly Clear products will be still available. (He added the company could entertain offers to sell to or to partner with another company for this business.)

“We’ve always had b-to-c applications for Mac, PC and mobile,” he explained. “We’ll still do those, but we are focusing more on b-to-b because we have had customers over the past 12-plus years tell us what their pain points are. Now, in this new direction, we can focus on those pain points.

“We have many of our customers who shoot schools and graduations,” says Gillat. “Sometimes, these photos come [from the field] and they are not consistent. They were supposed to be but the photographer may not have been standing in the right place. We are going to introduce a service, as part of QuickDesk and Lab, which lets you have a consistent background while maintaining a consistent foreground. That’s a huge pain point. That is coming as an extra add-on. Instead of doing things like color correction and beautification for faces, we can do things required for certain verticals. Let’s say you shoot schools and real estate; [corrections] are now done by manual labor in the Philippines and Vietnam. We can do that with AI.”

As far as products, Gillat says everything Athentech offered for labs and for businesses remains the core focus, including QuickDesk for photofinishers and photographers. Lab is a quarterly service for labs; it has no UI. The user drops images into folders, and they are automatically fixed.

“QuickDesk will be paired with Lab as a bundle,” explains Gillat. “QuickDesk is for smaller-sized labs, to automate their workflow, with a six-up view to fix six photos at a time. We’ve merged QuickDesk and Lab, so if you want, you can have a hot-folder processor as well.”

Gillat will be focused on sales of the SDK, a library that works on Linux, Windows, iOS, and Android. It corrects images behind the scenes automatically, either on a server or in the cloud.

“Then we have the Web API for customers who can’t afford the SDK or are too small, so our new SaaS product is based on Amazon AWS for those companies large or small who prefer to be charged per 1,000 photos,” he says.

The Perfectly Clear brand will continue as a b-to-c product; only the logo will change to reflect the new ownership. Perfectly Clear Complete is the standalone $129 desktop image-correction software for Mac and Windows, and also as a plugin. Perfectly Clear Essentials is a $79 version that doesn’t have some of the beautification features. There is also a lightweight free version.

The press release is reproduced below:

EyeQ acquires Athentech, maker of Perfectly Clear image-correction technology

Perfectly Clear by EyeQ logo

Acquisition Maintains Athentech’s Category-Leading Solutions while Better Positioning the Company to Take on the Future of Photography

Calgary, AB Canada – April 2, 2019 — EyeQ Inc. a Canadian imaging company with financial venture backing, today announced its acquisition of Athentech Imaging Inc., the world’s leading photo correction solution company. The company will maintain all of Athentech’s current business and continue to offer its signature Perfectly Clear® technology, products and services while bolstering investment in new technology such as artificial intelligence and in innovative workflow solutions. Athentech’s multi-patented solutions have consistently been the secret weapon of millions of photographers and consumers worldwide as well as major printers and print services around the world, automatically correcting 11 billion photos each year.

“Athentech was built by a team of leading scientists, physicists,  and photographers on a mission to make every photo as brilliant, vibrant, and clear as possible, just like our human eye captured, all while maintaining color integrity. Our acquisition is an exciting inflection point that adds more financial muscle and expertise to allow us to upscale this 15-year mission and reach more companies worldwide,” said Brad Malcolm, President and CEO, EyeQ.

The EyeQ team is comprised of the category’s most recognized color scientists, physicists, and engineers, and is now joined by imaging industry veteran Eran Steinberg as chairman of the board:

  • Brad Malcolm, CEO and president – seasoned Athentech business executive
  • Jeff Stephens, chief technology officer – over 15 years of engineering leadership experience in digital imaging and previously president of Bibble Labs
  • Ziv Gillat, chief revenue officer – imaging expert of more than 15 years and co-founder of Eyefi, which he helped scale across nearly 50 countries
  • Eran Steinberg, chairman of the board – image scientist, founder and orchestrator of several exits of imaging companies (including FotoNation) and inventor with more than 300 granted patents

EyeQ debuts Cloud-based API to Make Photo Perfection Available to All

As the first in a series of innovations under the EyeQ umbrella, the company also announced a new Web API, available now to offer a more accessible cloud-based entry point to the same patented technology available in the company’s latest SDK — all in a matter of minutes, without any integration required. The solution takes original JPG files and returns a corrected image immediately. Subscribers receive up to 100 free corrections per month and can learn more or create a free account by visiting: https://www.athentech.com/forbusiness/web-api

About EyeQ

EyeQ (formerly Athentech, Inc.), a Canadian corporation, provides image enhancement solutions to leading photographers and printers and hardware OEM’s, automatically correcting 11 billion photos each year.  The company is committed to creating patented innovative solutions that deliver automation, precision, speed, and consistent quality in their workflow.  Year after year, our dedicated team of physicists, engineers, and photographers invest our knowledge and time into providing technology that makes photos look stunning, automatically. Headquartered in Calgary, Canada, EyeQ has offices in San Francisco, Austin and Moscow. Visit http://eyeq.photos for more information.