Affectiva raises $14M for emotions analytics platform, eyes healthcare as one growth market

By Jonah Comstock
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Waltham, Massachusetts-based emotions analytics company Affectiva has raised $14 million in a round led by Fenox Venture Capital. The company intends to use the funding to continue to develop their Emotion AI platform and expand their operations globally.

In addition to the funding, the company announced a leadership change, with former CEO and president Nicholas Langeveld becoming chairman of the board and cofounder Dr. Rana el Kaliouby stepping into the CEO role.

"I am thrilled to have Fenox Venture Capital invest in Affectiva. We are at an inflection point regarding how emotion data and insights are used in various industries," Langeveld said in a statement. "This capital will fuel our growth in new areas including gaming, healthcare and video communications."

Affectiva has been through several iterations since its founding and has seemingly moved out of the healthcare space and back into it. In late 2011, Affectiva launched an emotional arousal wearable called the Q-sensor, based on its cofounder Rosalind Picard’s research with children with epilepsy at Boston Children’s Hospital. But in April 2013, Affectiva discontinued its work with the Q-sensor and refocused the company on emotional analysis for advertising focus groups. Picard then joined another company, Empatica, focused on creating a wearable similar to the Q-sensor. At the time, Affectiva explained that Affdex was not a healthcare product, but instead targets its offering at advertisers, who could use expression analysis as part of next generation focus groups.

But last year, the company announced that healthcare was once again part of its plan. One of the big use cases for Affectiva's technology in healthcare is for academic research, including studies on autism, depression, nutrition, mental wellbeing, mood, stress, and anger management. Affectiva VP of Product Strategy and Marketing Gabi Zijderveld told MobiHealthNews last year that companies are interested in using Affectiva's products for remote health monitoring, like measuring mood over time.

"We envision a future where our mobile and IoT devices can read and adapt to human emotions, transforming not only how we interact with hyper-intelligent technology, but also how we communicate with each other in a digital world," El Kaliouby said in a statement. "Affectiva is the Emotion AI company; we build artificial emotional intelligence that senses, models and adapts to human emotion and behavior. It is a big, exciting vision for artificial intelligence, as it realizes the practical business application of AI and fuels innovation in many global markets."  

This round brings the company's total funding to about $34 million.