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Walmart Buys Israeli Artificial Intelligence Startup To “Transform Retail”

Retail giant Walmart acquired Israeli artificial intelligence (AI) startup, Aspectiva, for an undisclosed sum, Globes reported Tuesday.

Though no purchase price was announced, it is said to be several tens of millions of dollars.

Aspectiva joined Walmart’s Store N° 8, which serves as an incubator for the retailer. It will stay in its Tel Aviv headquarters.

The Israeli company appealed to Walmart because of its natural language processing capabilities. Aspectiva’s software uses AI to analyze consumer opinions to give retailers insights into purchasing habits.

Aspectiva was founded in 2013 by  CEO Ezra Daya, and CTO Eyal Hurwitz. Later, Yoad Arad joined the company as VP for business development. The company has raised $4 million in funding led by Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP).

“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,” Daya said.

Walmart has recently turned to Israel’s tech community to boost its retail operations. It has invested in Team8, a tech incubator, partnered with Tel Aviv- and New York-based Eko, an interactive media company, and joined the Bridge, which matches up multinational businesses with Israeli startups.

JVP released a statement hailing the acquisition,”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.”

[Photo: I ♥ Food / Flickr ]