Facebook Buys ‘Visual Positioning Service’ Company



Facebook has acquired London-based startup Scape Technologies, which is working on location-based technology that will expand GPS abilities, according to reports.

Regulatory filings show that Facebook now has control over more than three-quarters of the company. Though details on the specifics of the deal were unavailable, the deal could be for around $40 million based on other filings.

Two of Scape’s previous venture capital representatives have now been replaced by Facebook executives on the company’s board, according to documents.

Two of the company’s backers, Entrepreneur First and Fly Ventures, had exits to Facebook as well when the social media giant acquired Bloomsbury AI.

Scape was founded in 2017 and has been working on developing a “Visual Positioning Service” that will build on computer vision and offer developers capabilities far beyond the scope of normal GPS.

Initially it was only intended for augmented reality technology, but the implications of Scape’s work could also affect things like mobility, logistics and robotics in other areas, too. The company’s broad goal is to help machines that use cameras understand their surroundings.

Scape CEO and co-founder Edward Miller said the company’s intent was to create a “mapping pipeline” that could take real images and videos and turn them into 3D imaging. With that, cameras can access the tech and provide even more accurate location-mapping services than current GPS technology is able to do.

Facebook’s acquisition of Scape fits in with the social media site’s interest in next-generation tech such as AI and virtual reality.

The move is indicative of a trend that worries some analysts as U.S. tech firms continue to absorb U.K. companies in a way some could call anti-competitive. Since the U.K. recently left the European Union, their Competition and Markets Authority will take a more critical look at some such cases.

And in addition, Facebook’s costs have risen to $46 billion as of the last year. That number consists of marketing and sales spending.

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