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Image Metrics settles $8 million funding deal

Facial animation firm completes public listing as further expansions planned

Leading facial animation technology firm Image Metrics has announced the closure of an $8 million round of financing, which it intends to use to increase the scope of its sales and marketing efforts for software products such as Faceware.

The company is also intending to expand its business into online markets such as virtual worlds and social networks, although no specific partners have been announced as yet.

At the same time the company has also agreed to become a wholly owned subsidiary of International Cellular Accessories (ICLA), with Image Metrics exchanging all of its outstanding shares and becoming a publicly traded company as a result.

Despite the name, ICLA is a shell company with no active operations and will change its name to Image Metrics, Inc. as a result of the exchange.

Image Metric provides its software and services to both the videogame and film industries, with its technology appearing in games such as Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed II and Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto IV - as well as films such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

"We are now staffing up sales and marketing to take advantage of a growing base of client testimonials, awards, press and word of mouth to grow both the size of the facial animation market and our market share," said CEO Michael Starkenburg.

“In addition, we are working to package our technology into a software service offering that we can deploy to customers. This will create a hybrid software/service business model which should expand our market opportunity and favorably impact profit margins and our future financial performance," he added.

Image Metrics reported revenues of $4 million in its last financial year and claims to have a backlog of contracts worth $5 million. Nevertheless it reported a net loss of $6.8 million, although this has improved to a loss of just $1 million in the first quarter of 2010.

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