Not The Onion: Reface raises $5.5m for its AI-powered face-swapping app

Reface has been a huge 2020 hit, with 70m downloads and countless viral shares of its face-swapping videos and GIFs.


December 10, 2020

In the absurd 1997 action movie Face/Off, characters played by John Travolta and Nicholas Cage undergo next-gen surgery to exchange faces.

Today, there’s no surgery necessary.

Reface, a viral AI-powered app, lets users (like our Sam Parr ☝️) swap their faces with celebrities (like Christian Bale as Batman) and share them — which 65% of its users do.

Bruce Wayne Sam Parr (Source: Reface)

To keep the party going, Reface just raised a $5.5m seed round


Per TechCrunch, the app — which ranks among the top 5 most downloaded apps in 100 countries — has top investors including Andreessen Horowitz as well as the founders of gaming giants Supercell and Unity.

Co-founded by 7 Ukranian entrepreneurs in 2011, Reface has focused exclusively on AI since 2013, perfecting a specific version of machine learning known as generative adversarial networks (GANs).

“In a nutshell it’s generating a new animated face using the twin inputs (the selfie and the target video),” writes TechCrunch, “rather than trying to mask one on top of the other.”

Total downloads are up to 70m…

… with celeb users from Joe Rogan to Justin Bieber sharing the creations.

Moving forward, Reface wants to deepen its relationship with the entertainment industry but is planning for user-generated content (UGC), which presents a whole host of problems related to DeepFakes.

Before you can swap faces with grandma, the startup has to put detection and moderation systems in place so that users can’t just randomly Reface strangers.

This will go a long way to help Reface become “the biggest platform of personalized content”… no word on whether that includes a (much-needed) sequel to Face/Off.

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