Twitter Acquires Machine Learning Startup Magic Pony Technology

Twitter building

Twitter Inc. (NYSE:TWTR) acquired Magic Pony Technology, a machine learning startup based in London that can enhance low-resolution and blurred video in real-time.

The microblogging company continues to find ways to improve its products and services and turnaround itself towards growth and profitability. Last week, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey confirmed reports that the company invested $70 million in SoundCloud, a music streaming service. Investors perceived the investment a positive move.

Twitter did not disclose the terms of the deal with Magic Pony Technology.  A related report from TechCrunch indicated that the microblogging company paid $150 million for the machine learning startup based on information from two sources.

Enhancing image quality using deep learning

In a statement, Magic Pony Technology confirmed its merger with Twitter to use its technology to improve the visual experiences delivered across its apps. It is also looking forward to accelerating its rate of research and growing its team, which will serve as the home base of Twitter’s machine learning efforts in Europe.

The Magic Pony Technology team is composed of eleven individuals with PhDs and their expertise includes computer vision, computational neuroscience, and deep learning. The company is co-founded by Rob Bishop and Zehan Wang.

During the MIT Technology Review in April, Bishop explained that “online video-streaming rely heavily on video compression.” According to him, their first product shows that deep learning can improve image quality significantly. He added, “Fast mobile GPUs now allow use to deploy it anywhere.”

Twitter to boost its strength in deep learning

On the other hand, Mr. Dorsey said. “Machine learning is increasingly at the core of everything we build at Twitter. 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.”

Magic Pony Technology is the third machine learning company acquired by Twitter. The microblogging company bought Madbit in 2014 and Whetlab last year.

Suranga Chandratillake, a partner at Balderton, told TechCrunch that Twitter’s acquisition of Magic Pony Technology demonstrates that video is the key to its business. According to her, the microblogging company has “gone after video in a big way.”

“Less obvious, but also very interesting is that Twitter is gaining a very strong team working in still-emerging tech areas where the company has yet to lay out any intentions, like virtual and augmented reality, “ add Chandratillake.

The stock price of Twitter climbed more than 2% to $16.46 per share at the time of this writing around 1:00 in the afternoon in New York.