Vhoto, which developed a computer vision technology that scanned mobile videos in order to extract the very best still photographs, is no more.
Assets from the venture-backed Seattle startup have been sold to Hulu, and most of the Vhoto team is now working in the Seattle engineering office of the online video powerhouse, GeekWire has learned.
It is unclear how much Hulu paid for the Vhoto assets, and whether the outcome marked a successful exit for the startup’s investors. As a result of the asset sale — which occurred last fall — the Vhoto service has been shut down.
A short message on the Vhoto Web site reads:
We are so thankful for your support over the past year! Although Vhoto is taking a different path, we hope you continue to record life! Thanks for sharing your lives with us through GIFs and pics on Vhoto. It’s been an incredible journey!
Vhoto founder and CEO Noah Heller directed comments to Hulu public relations, which declined to comment. According to his LinkedIn profile, Heller is now working as vice president of audience development and data partnerships at Hulu, based in Santa Monica, California.
Prior to starting Vhoto, Heller worked at Activision and Microsoft.
In 2014, shortly after founding Vhoto, Heller told GeekWire that the app created better photos almost in a “magical way.”
“We are fundamentally trying to change the way photos are taken,” says Heller. “We have this paradigm around taking stills, hitting the button at the right time, that’s a holdover from 35 millimeter cameras. It so arbitrary that you have to hit the shutter button to get a great moment. It is so arbitrary that we have to choose between photo and video, when to a computer there is no difference.”
The company raised more than $3 million from Polaris Venture Partners, Atlas Venture and Hugh Crean, the former CEO of Seattle-based Farecast. It also attracted top talent, including former Netbot, Sightward, AdRelevance and Farecast engineer Jay Bartot.
Hulu now employs about 70 people at its offices near Pike Place Market in Seattle, one of the many fast-growing engineering offices in the region.