Reface - app, which helps you to swap your face with a character from any movie, cartoon, video, or even GIF. At one time, Reface overtook TikTok and even Snapchat in terms of the number of installs. You can even say that Reface is the most successful Ukraine-made app in Google Play and App Store. But how did it's story begin?
"We wanted to create technology that would allow us to sit in front of the screen, turn on the Netflix, bring the camera - and watch the movie with us in the lead role," says one of the co-founders and CEO of Reface, Dmitry Shvets.
The idea seemed crazy and impossible, but the thought that no one had done it yet pushed the team forward. Two years before Reface headed the American App Store, one of Oles Petrov's co-founders came up with the idea that people misuse deep-fake technology. Many people associated it with fake news and caused a mixed reaction. And in general, to replace someone's face, you had to use machine learning and dataset, and spend about three weeks. Reface technology allows you to do this in three clicks.
Founders of Reface
In 2011, three Mohyla Academy students Roman Mohylny, Yaroslav Boyko and Oles Petrov founded the ML-startup Neocortext. The company was engaged in machine learning, and Reface was not mentioned at all at that time. By the way, the name Neocortext can still be seen among the companies in the App Store and Google Play. Guess which is the only application presented by this company? That's right, Reface. In 2014, Denis Dmitrenko joined the startup. He showed the guys how best to shape the business logic of the project and attract people to it. So there were four co-founders.
Kirill Sigida, who came the same year, helped with the understanding of marketing. A year later, Dmytro Shvets and Ivan Altsybeev joined the startup. Dmytro worked in an investment fund for a long time and knew which startup would work and which would not. But Ivan formed a vision of the final product. Design, core and appearance - its area of expertise.
"Statistics show that young startups usually have two or three founders.
We have seven of them, because at each stage the team was replenished with vital people who brought something new, - explains Dmitry. - It is very important to surround yourself with people who are in love with what they do. Those who are ready to incur financial and time losses to create something significant." Another example of such people Shvets cites investors who have supported the project since its inception. "We have 13 angels. One of the main ones is Serhiy Tokarev, who helped us a lot in the early stages, " the startupper adds.
"At first we decided to try to change the faces in the photos, and created a service and application Reflect. We found out that we are successful when we saw Elon Musk's tweet. He put his face to Dwayne's "Rock" Johnson's body and wrote, "Yeah, I lift a little..." The tweet spread all over the world - and we realized that people like it," Dmytro Shvets recalls. Then guys decided to go from photo to video. First of them had low quality, then it became higher. So in January 2020, the Doublicat app for changing faces on gifs appeared. Half a thousand well-known world media, including Forbes, The Sun, The Verge and Mashable, immediately wrote about it.
From the beginning, the startup focused on the youth audience: people who watch gigabytes of videos every day as a fan and create their own. But it turned out that the application is used by slightly older users (especially when compared to the same TikTok), people from 23 to 35 years.
However, the name Doublicat, which Ukrainians liked so much, did not come to the West. Because of transliteration, the United States did not understand that there was a certain duality and duality behind the word. Then the startup got a new name - Reface AI.
Frequently Asked Questions
Reface is a Ukrainian mobile app that allows users to swap faces with celebrities or other people in real-time using artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
Some of the challenges that Reface faced include copyright issues, technical glitches, and the need to continuously improve the app to keep up with the changing market.
Reface was created by Ukrainian entrepreneurs Roman Mogylnyi and Oles Petriv and Yaroslav Boyko.
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