Face Swap App Reface Raises $5.5 Million in Seed Funding

By Elijah Labby Wednesday, December 16, 2020

So-called “face swap” technology, which allows users to play their face over the faces of friends and family, as well as celebrities, is one of the eeriest and most fun features that has been implemented in social media apps today. It is an entertaining way to see what your face looks like on static photos of others, and users of apps like Snapchat can’t get enough of this startup's creation.

However, one app called Reface allows face swap over videos and has achieved remarkable success doing so. The company recently raised $5.5 million in seed funding for the app, a signal of a bright future for the entertainment technology startup.

Representatives from the company told TechCrunch that users have downloaded Reface over 70 million times on the iPhone and Android app marketplaces (up from 20 million in August), and was designed a Top App in the Google Play best of the year list.

That success has caught the attention of investors, and Reface is in likely the best shape they have ever been to become a key player in the entertainment app market.

Many of these investors are themselves celebrities or superstars in the technology industry, like Scooter Braun, who discovered Justin Bieber and brought him to stardom, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, who created the smash-hit cartoon “South Park,” and Ilkka Paananen, CEO of Supercell, which created hit apps like Hay Day and Clash of Clans.

Paananen sees a future where Reface allows for new entertainment experiences, like playing games starring oneself.

“I believe that Reface has the potential to be the next-generation personalization platform that enables the gamification of movies, sports, music videos, and many other fields that people are passionate about,” he said in a statement. “I’m excited to see the team grow Reface into a community that allows people to create active personal connections with artists and each other through content they love.”

The Global App Market

Reface’s newfound success comes at a time of larger success within the global mobile app market, as well as the entertainment app market specifically.

That section of the market is expected to grow at an impressive compound annual growth rate of 12% from 2020 to 2027, according to market research firm Grand View Research. North America dominates the entertainment sector, which is assisted greatly by landmarks of the industry like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube. Further contributing to this growth is the massive popularity of apps like Snapchat, Instagram, and Tik Tok, all of which allow users to share entertaining moments in their lives with friends as well as strangers.

In this regard, Reface is in great company. These social media applications, which were once mere startups, managed to carve out their slice of the market by offering unique features.

Now, Reface has the opportunity to join their ranks. By using their recently-secured investment funds to expand the reach of the app via advertising as well as develop innovative features, it is likely that people young and old will appreciate the ability to create entertaining bits of media to share with others — especially amid the pandemic.

Growing Deepfake Technology

Deepfake technology — wherein one can place their or someone else’s face on another person (like Keanu Reeves, the new star of Forrest Gump) — has been around for some time, even going back as far as the early 2000s. But the mechanics of it were often unrealistic and limited in their functionality.

All of that seems to have changed with apps like Reface. Whereas deepfakes were previously clunky and inaccessible, now they are easy to make with the simple downloading of an app.

And Reface has carved out a place for themselves in the market quite effectively. Celebrities like Justin Bieber, Snoop Dogg, Chris Brown, Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, and Joe Rogan have all used the app and brought it to a massive audience in doing so. The momentum provided by subsequent funds will, in all likelihood, help to prepare Reface for the next level of success. What that level is remains to be seen, but when they get there, the startup will be a force.

About the Author

Headshot for author Elijah Labby

Elijah Labby is a graduate of the National Journalism Center. He has previously written for Broadband Breakfast, a technology and internet policy website.

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