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Google acquires Twitter-backed AI avatar startup Alter for $100 million

Google has acquired Alter, an artificial intelligence (AI) avatar startup that helps creators and brands express their virtual identity, for about $100 million, a source familiar with the matter told TechCrunch, in a push to boost its content game and better compete with TikTok.

The acquisition was completed about two months ago, the source said, but neither of the companies disclosed it to the public. Some of Alter’s top executives have updated their LinkedIn profiles to share that they have joined Google without acknowledging the acquisition. The source requested anonymity because they are sharing nonpublic information.

A Google spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch that the company has acquired Alter but declined to comment on the financial terms of the deal.

The U.S. and Czech-headquartered Alter started its life as Facemoji, a platform that offered plug-and-play tech to help game and app developers put avatar systems into their apps. The startup received $3 million in seed funding from investors including Play Ventures, Roosh Ventures and Twitter.

Facemoji later rebranded as Alter.

Google hopes to use Alter to improve and ramp up its content offerings, a person familiar with the matter said.

Alter founders Jon Slimak and Robin Raszka did not respond to a request for comment.