Visual search startup Syte lands $21.5 million investment


On Monday, Tel Aviv, Israel-based startup Syte announced it raised $21.5 million in a Series B round. Venture capital firm Viola (Outbrain) led three other groups in providing the visual search company with its latest cash injection. Syte, which counts Kohl’s, Sainsbury’s, and Tommy Hilfiger among its clients, plans to use its new capital to expand its product offerings.

How Syte Visual Search Works

Essentially, Syte functions as a kind of visual Google for products like clothes and furniture.

For instance, let’s say a consumer sees a jacket they like in a store window but don’t have time to buy it at the moment. The shopper would likely encounter difficulty trying to locate the garment via text description. So, in that scenario, the retailer would lose out on a sale and the opportunity to make the buyer into a regular customer.

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Syte’s artificial intelligence-enabled platform offers a way to bring consumers and brands together

Businesses that partner with the startup have their catalogs visually indexed and tagged. Accordingly, consumers can upload a photo of an item they want, and the firm’s API will match the image with the relevant inventory. Buyers can then purchase the product they want without any extra hassle. Consumers also receive specific recommendations for products that will pair with their purchases.

The startup’s technology also allows consumers to perform visual searches using screen captures for retailer websites.

Large corporations like eBay have used computer vision tools for years to bolster their sales. Syte gives e-commerce firms access to the same functionality without having to develop and maintain the technology internally. As a Coupon Follow survey found Millennial consumers are increasingly doing their shopping online via their mobile devices, the utility of Syte’s services is undeniable.

Transforming the Retail Sector

Syte’s capacity to transform the retail sector has not gone unnoticed by investors. Since being founded in 2015, the firm has received $31.5 million in outside funding. The company has also added notable brands like Farfetch and Samsung to its client list.

With its new cash infusion, the startup plans to expand the scope of its services and its headcount. Venture Beat reports the company will open a new San Francisco office by year’s end and will hire 70 new staffers. Furthermore, the firm is looking into refining its recommendation engine to make it more personalized add-on suggestions.

Given the innovative nature of its technology and its rapid adoption by leading brands, Syte has the potential to change the way the world does its shopping.