Walmart completes its first Israeli acquisition

Retail giant buys Aspectiva to help it change the way customers shop both online and in their stores.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Walmart announced on Tuesday its acquisition of Israeli product-review startup Aspectiva for an undisclosed sum.

Aspectiva uses artificial intelligence to find out what shoppers are saying online about any product in order to provide potential customers with the reviews and help them with their purchasing decisions.

The technology can analyze what shoppers are searching for, on their phones or in store apps, and offer them instant help. It can also suggest alternative products if the one in which the shopper is interested does not have a high-enough rating regarding specific aspects.

The company will stay in Tel Aviv as it joins Store No. 8, Walmart’s two-year-old incubation arm that aims to “uncover the ideas that will transform the future of commerce,” the retailer said in its statement.

Lori Flees, principal of Store No. 8, was very happy with the acquisition and the fact that it’s in the Start-Up Nation.

“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,” she said. “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 company was founded in 2013 by Ezra Daya and Eyal Hurwitz to personalize search results for customers and “revolutionize online retail space,” according to its website. CEO Daya noted that Walmart was the perfect match for his company.

“Store No. 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,” he said.

This is the retail giant’s first outright purchase of an Israeli company, although it has also invested in Team8, an Israeli cybersecurity start-up incubator. In addition, it recently joined The Bridge, a technology accelerator connecting global companies with Israel’s technology start-up community.