Leonardo DiCaprio Invests in Emotion-Capture Startup MindMaze

Switzerland-based human computing interfaces startup MindMaze has attracted an investment from none other than Leonardo DiCaprio, who is also joining the company’s board of advisers. The investment is being made as part of a new round of funding that hasn’t closed, and the amount of money DiCaprio is investing wasn’t revealed as part of the announcement.

MindMaze was founded in 2012 with the goal of finding new ways to capture brain activity, and initially focused on medical applications, including rehabilitation after strokes. More recently, the company has been expanding to also use its technology in entertainment, including via facial expression capture for virtual and augmented reality.

“MindMaze technology has already impacted the lives of many people, and it is poised to define the way we will experience and create content in the future,” said DiCaprio in a statement. “I am excited about the possibilities of MindMaze’s technology, especially for its potential to be a driving force in media and entertainment in the years to come.”

The MindMaze mask, equipped with sensors to measure bio-signals indicative of facial expressions.
Courtesy of MindMaze

Earlier this year, MindMaze introduced a product it calls “mask,” which aims to capture bio-signals directly from a user’s face while she wears a VR headset equipped with the company’s sensors. The company claims that this approach enables it to capture facial expressions even before they fully appear on a user’s face.

MindMaze founder and CEO Tej Tadi said that his company is currently in discussions with Hollywood studios as well as video game companies and hardware manufacturers about licensing MindMaze’s technology. The result could be an enhancement of motion capture technology for studios, or an integration into a commercial product that would reach consumers. “We are talking to everyone,” he said.

Ultimately, the goal was to implement MindMaze’s technology on the chip level to integrate it into small and portable devices, he said. “This is a mobile-based platform.”

MindMaze has thus far raised more than $108 million in funding. The company’s $100 million Series A was led by India’s Hinduja Group.

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