Israeli startup Syte said on Wednesday that it raised USD 30 million Series C funding in a round led by Viola Ventures and LG Technology Ventures, plus an additional USD 10 million in debt financing, to scale the company’s visual search and product discovery platform, as well as fuel its expansion in North America and Asia.
Investors La Maison, MizMaa Ventures, Kreos Capital, and existing backers Magma, Naver Corporation, Commerce Ventures, Storm Ventures, Axess Ventures, Remagine Media Ventures, and KDC Media Fund also participated in the round. The investment comes just over a year after Syte raised USD 21.5 million in Series B funding. To date, the company has raised over USD 60 million.
Syte was founded in 2015 by Lihi Pinto Fryman, who serves as CRO; her husband Ofer Fryman, CEO; his brother Idan Pinto, COO; and nuclear physicist and machine learning expert Helge Voss, CTO.
The main idea behind the startup was prompted by an incident five years ago, in which Pinto Fryman, then an investment banker in London, came across a red dress she liked online but could find no details on the garment, and so she was unable to buy it.
She and her co-founders got to work on a platform that powers visual searches so shoppers could find items using pictures or screenshots. Today, this platform works to help customers on e-commerce sites discover fashion, jewelry, and home décor.
Syte works with massive retailers such as US department store chain Kohl’s, online luxury fashion retail platform Farfetch, and FashionNova to help customers discover products and let them perform image-based searches for items.
The platform also facilitates what the company calls the world’s first augmented site search, an enhanced text search solution that combines visual AI and NLP (natural language processing) layers to decipher human context and intent. For example, using conventional e-commerce search engines, users who type in “red dressy high heels” may find themselves looking at pictures of red dresses since this type of text would confuse the engine. Syte says it uses AI deep tagging layers to add powerful product details and unlock true accuracy.
There is also a hyper-personalization engine that combines conventional algorithms with visual AI to provide individualized recommendations based on shoppers’ unique tastes.
“We have reached this point by honing industry-leading technology that enables brands and retailers to create intuitive and delightful experiences. Now, we are grateful for the opportunity to use the new funding to take those experiences to the next level,” Fryman wrote in a post on Wednesday.
“Our focus for 2021 and beyond will be to develop and acquire solutions that create product discovery experiences spanning the full range of our senses—visual, text, voice, and more—with an end-to-end platform that leverages visual AI and next-generation personalization across the board,” Fryman said in a company statement.
Viola Ventures partner Ronen Nir said, “Syte’s growth is a testament to their second-to-none technology, their forward-thinking team, and their laser-sharp focus on customer experience.”
Syte said the company has grown by 22% quarter-over-quarter since the beginning of 2020, and its customer base has increased by 38%. The company indicated that the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding surge in e-commerce traffic has generated newfound interest in Syte, as brands and retailers shift to prioritize e-commerce solutions.
This article first appeared in NoCamels, which covers innovations from Israel for a global audience.