20M downloads and No. 1 on the U.S. AppStore – Sergey Tokarev tells about success of Reface
Sergey Tokarev, an investor of Ukrainian startup RefaceAI, tells about the success of Reface (formerly known as Doublicat) app and why it gets leading positions in AppStore and GooglePlay around the world.
The public release of Reface, an app that allows you to swap faces on videos and GIFs, took place on January 13, 2020. In the first three months, it was downloaded over a million times. After half a year, the number of downloads reached five million. By the end of August, this number is over 20 million.
During all these months, Reface has steadily climbed the AppStore and GooglePlay charts in different countries. The Thailand residents were among the first to appreciate the app. There, Reface reached No. 1 on the charts back in June. Soon, the app became successful in the Philippines as well. In early July, residents of the developers’ home country, Ukraine, became also interested in swapping faces on GIFs. From that moment on, the app began to conquer the European market, and in August, it reached the United States. In the last days of summer 2020, Reface took the first position in the American AppStore chart, surpassing YouTube, TikTok, Zoom, Instagram, and Facebook in popularity.
The startup investor Sergey Tokarev associates such success with the app’s authentic origin and its uniqueness.
‘While all of Reface’s competitors keep on using CGI, a technology that significantly limits user experience and cannot provide a high quality final image, RefaceAI followed a different path. For three years, the project team was developing its own technology that is based on a self-trained artificial intelligence,’ says Sergey Tokarev. ‘The result has exceeded all our expectations. It takes only a short time to process an image, and you get the final picture as realistic as possible.’
The app also allows you to work not only with a limited image database provided by the developers, but also with other user content, such as your own videos and GIFs. However, Reface base offers an extensive content catalog in any case: you can find content from Friends to Iron Man, from Michael Jackson to Jennifer Lopez, and many others.
‘In fact, the company became popular back in 2019. Back then, in AppStore and GooglePlay, there appeared Reflect, an app that allowed you to swap faces on photos. Elon Musk liked it and decided to swap bodies with Dwayne Johnson. He published the results of his photo experiments on his Twitter,’ Sergey Tokarev recalls. ‘These photos were published by thousands of media around the world, and the app instantly gained popularity among users. Reface is a new, larger stage in the company’s life and in the development of the photo and video industry.’
According to Tokarev, the RefaceAI team also focuses on fighting against fakes on the Internet. Today, the startup is developing technology to recognize fake videos and GIFs.
The team takes the security of users’ personal data in earnest as well.
‘The app doesn’t store photos of people. To process an image, the app actually doesn’t need a photo. Instead, Reface works with so-called face embeddings, vector images of facial features. All selfies made by users are sent to GoogleCloud for processing, and then within 24 hours they are irretrievably deleted,’ explains Sergey Tokarev.
As for the final photos and videos, they are stored only on the user’s phone.
In terms of monetization, investors and developers at RefaceAI count not only on the app itself, but on the technology that can be used in the film industry, gaming, advertising, blogging and interactive entertainment.