US-based retail giant Walmart said it has acquired Israel-based Aspectiva, a startup that uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing technologies to analyze consumer opinions from the web with the goal of creating a better shopping experience.
The startup’s technology provides retailers with insights about what shoppers want, and online shoppers with recommendations.
The parties did not disclose the terms of the deal. This is the first acquisition of a startup by Walmart in Israel, although the US giant has other activities in the so-called Startup Nation. In October, Walmart made a strategic investment in Team8, an Israeli think tank and tech incubator; it has also launched a joint venture with Eko, an interactive media and technology company with offices in Tel Aviv and New York, and recently joined The Bridge, a technology accelerator connecting global companies with the technology startup community in Israel.
As part of the acquisition, Aspectiva will join Walmart’s Store N° 8, an incubation arm launched by the retailer in 2017 to tap into new ideas in the field of commerce.
“Aspectiva’s Natural Language Processing capabilities will help Walmart further enhance the end-to-end shopping experience,” Walmart said in a blog post.
The Aspectiva team joined the incubator arm on February 25, but will continue to operate from Aspectiva’s offices in Tel Aviv, the post said.
The firm was founded in 2013 by CEO Ezra Daya, Eyal Hurvitz and Yoad Arad.
“Aspectiva has developed incredibly sophisticated machine learning techniques and natural language processing capabilities, both of which are areas we believe will have profound impact on how customers will shop in the future,” said Lori Flees, principal of Store N° 8. “Israel is a hotbed of tech talent and innovation. We’re thrilled to join the growing community of entrepreneurs in Israel and see it expand within Aspectiva.”
The startup had raised $4.2 million to date, led by VC fund Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), together with Japanese VC fund Global Brain, Union Five, Israeli firm LivePerson and Re-Invent.
“Our team is extremely excited to be joining Store N° 8 and be part of Walmart’s most recent investment in Israel. Store N° 8’s record of innovation and of developing capabilities that will transform retail as we know it makes for the perfect environment to leverage Aspectiva’s technology throughout the shopping funnel,” said Daya.