Google has acquired Alter, an AI startup that offered a tech stack to developers that could be used to create avatar systems, the company confirmed to TechCrunch. The publication reports the deal happened for $100 million, but the company did not confirm the figure.
The company was founded as Facemoji and raised $3 million last year in a seed round led by Play Ventures, with participation from Twitter and Roosh Ventures. Upon a rise in popularity in 3D avatar systems, like Apple’s Memoji, Alter wanted to offer game makers the ability to easily build avatar systems without having to plug into different networks.
In February, Alter opened its Core technology to the public, offering its SDK to developers via its GitHub repository. The SDK allowed for a real-time 3D avatar system that allows for facial motion capture and other components.
Many have speculated the acquisition is closely tied to the company’s battle with TikTok, which offers similar 3D-style avatars in its app.
The acquisition reportedly happened two months ago. A look at the company’s Discord server shows some developers speculating about an acquisition as early as September, when they noticed the startup’s website had gone down.
At the time, Robin Raszka, the company’s founder, commented back: ¯_(ツ)_/¯
The company soon followed up by saying it would be discontinuing code access and archiving their GitHub on November 29, and that SDKs would no longer be updated or supported.
On LinkedIn, many of the Alter’s former employees are now working for Google in a variety of product design and UX roles. Raszka’s profile shows he is not working at Google.
I contacted Google for comment, but did not hear back before the publish of this story.