Walmart has acquired Israeli artificial intelligence (AI) startup Aspectiva, the US retail giant has announced. Aspectiva will be joining Walmart’s Store N° 8, the incubation arm launched by the retailer in 2017 to promote technologies that will enhance the future retail and consumer experience. No financial details about the acquisition were disclosed but sources close to the deal say that it was for several tens of millions of dollars.
The Tel Aviv-based company uses AI to analyze consumer opinions and turns them into valuable insights for retailers. Walmart said that Aspectiva’s natural language processing capabilities will help it to further enhance the end-to-end shopping experience. The Aspectiva team joined Store N° 8 yesterday and will continue to operate from Aspectiva’s offices in Tel Aviv.
Aspectiva was founded in 2013 by CEO Ezra Daya, CTO Eyal Hurwitz and was later joined by VP business development Yoad Arad. The company has raised $4 million, led by JVP in addition to Global Brain, Union Five, LivePerson and Re-Invent.
Daya said, “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."
In recent years, Walmart has targeted Israeli technology in attempts to compete with retail technology rival Amazon. The company has made a strategic investment in Team8, an Israeli think tank and tech incubator, 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.
JVP said, “As the lead investor in the company, we’re thrilled that Walmart has chosen to acquire Aspectiva, a portfolio company of JVP, founded and grown in our JVP Labs in Jerusalem. We are proud of our JVP Partner and Aspectiva Board Member, Haim Kopans, who has been leading the company since inception until its successful acquisition today. We believe that this will bring new jobs and opportunities to Israel and serve as an additional example of how Israeli innovation is helping shape our world, by bringing together disruptive technologies and key global markets.”
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 26, 2019
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