Featured Innovator :: Syte.ai
Last week fashion visual search startup Syte.ai closed a $7.8m series A. The funds will be used for growth in the U.S., but with investors from South Korea and Japan, we’re keeping the company on our watchlist for entry to Asian markets, specifically China of course.
TechCrunch reported on how it all started: Co-founder and CMO Lihi Pinto Fryman was working as an investment banker in London when a red dress in Vogue caught her eye. She tried to find a similar one online, but couldn’t. “I said to my husband, how can it be that in 2014 I see a dress that I really like and can’t just tap it and get it?”
Why fashion-focused Syte.ai among many other visual search startups? Syte.ai has a different approach. They teach machines to read images better.
Lead investor NHN Investment stated that many other image search solutions give below average results and, generally, are all driven by a database matching algorithm. Syte.ai states that they have developed an algorithm that bridges physics and fashion. “The reason we chose fashion is because it’s so hard to recognize,” says CEO Ofer Fryman. “Think about your top. It looks completely different if you are wearing it, or if it’s on a hanger, or in a catalog, or if you are walking on a red carpet or sitting down. It’s hard to teach the machine it’s the same item.”
If you have ever tried image-searching a fashion item, you might understand what Fryman means. Say you image-search black work shoes, and a whole array of not only shoes, but black oval-shaped items may come up, whatever the category.
Syte.ai takes a step out of image-searching. Instead of copying, saving and uploading an image to search, consumers simply hover over an item on a website using the technology, and up comes results for the same and similar items at various retailers and price points.
Syte.ai has solutions for fashion publishers and retailers but also for consumers, offering a personal virtual shopping assistant and instant shopping from any image. The company is currently working on next generation AI based on latest findings in the neuroscience field.
Featured Investor :: Principle Capital (谱润投资)
In the past week an unnamed affiliate of Principle Capital acquired Nasdaq- and TASE-listed Camtek Ltd’s PCB (printed circuit board) business for $35m.
Established as Fosun’s foreign strategic investment arm in 1999, Principle Capital is a Shanghai-based PE firm specializing in growth equity investment and strategic integration in the advanced manufacturing, services, healthcare and consumer goods industries. The company has a strategic partnership with Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, a New York based private investment firm which works with management teams to grow its portfolio businesses, often non-core divisions of larger companies.
According to a Chinese corporate records provider, Principle Capital is directly invested in 35 companies (all Chinese) ranging from A through D round funding and strategic financing in 10 industries (services, agriculture, healthcare, real estate, tourism, manufacturing, e-commerce, computer hardware, electric energy, and F&B). Principle Capital has been active since 2003 with peak investment activity in 13 companies in 2010. It has a number of direct and indirect subsidiaries and managed funds that are in turn invested in many other companies.
Managed funds include (translated):
Principle Capital Fund IV
Shanghai Principle Phase III Equity Investment Partnership (Limited Partnership)
Shanghai Principle Phase II Equity Investment Partnership (Limited Partnership)
Shanghai Fosun Principle Equity Investment Partnership Enterprises (Limited Partnership)
Shanghai Principle Equity Investment Enterprises (Limited Partnership)
Shanghai Fosun Chemical Pharmaceutical Venture Capital Limited
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