Twitter Buys Magic Pony to Boost the Strength of its Deep Learning Team


Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) acquired Magic Pony Technology, a machine learning start-up co-founded by Rob Bishop and Zehan Wang.  The microblogging company did not disclose the terms of the transaction.

Magic Pony Technology is focused on developing solutions for visual processing that are based on machine learning. Bishop explained during the MIT Technology Review in April that “online video-streaming rely heavily on video compression” and the company’s first product demonstrated that an image quality can be improved substantially through deep learning.

Twitter Buys Magic Pony

In a statement, Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey confirmed the company’s acquisition of Magic Pony citing the reason that machine learning is “increasingly at the core of everything” they are developing.

“Magic Pony’s machine learning technology will help us build strength into our deep learning teams with world-class talent, so Twitter can continue to be the best place to see what’s happening and why it matters, first. We value deep learning research to help make our world better, and we will keep doing our part to share our work and learnings with the community,” said Dorsey.

Twitter paid $150 million for Magic Pony

Magic Pony is not the only machine learning startup acquired by Twitter. Its first acquisition was Madbit in 2014 followed by Whetlab last year. A related report from TechCrunch, citing sources, indicated that the microblogging company paid $150 million for Magic Pony

Twitter will use Magic Pony’s technology to improve the visual experience delivered across its apps.

The machine learning startup is looking forward to accelerating the rate of its research and growing its team, which will serve as the home base of Twitter’s machine learning efforts in Europe.

Magic Pony’s team is composed of eleven executive with PhDs and expertise in the field of computer vision, machine learning, high-performance computing, and computational neuroscience. It will join the Twitter Cortex team of engineers, data scientists, and machine learning researchers.

Video is the key to Twitter’s business

Suranga Chandratillake, a partner at Balderton, told TechCrunch Twitter’s acquisition of Magic Pony is a clear demonstration that video is the key to its business. The company is going after video in a “big way.”

Chandratillake also noted that the microblogging company is “gaining a very strong team” is less obvious and still-emerging tech areas such augmented and virtual reality, where it is yet to layout its intentions.

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