By: Hillel Fuld (@Hilzfuld)
I meet a lot of startups. Like a LOT of startups. I have talked about this before but even after I created an entire website to answer this very question, I still get people asking me regularly “What exactly do you do?” I always answered that question in the below episode of my vlog.
“What do you do?”
Anyway, beyond trying to help entrepreneurs that I meet, there are some companies with whom I take our relationship to the next level. I am fortunate to be working with some truly remarkable companies, all of which you can see and read about on my site, but speaking of site, a few months ago, I met Syte (sorry, couldn’t help myself.)
How I met them in the first place is a story for another time but this company fascinated me from day one. Here was a company founded in Israel, that just raised a significant round of financing by none other than Line Corp, the messaging beast of a company. If that wasn’t enough, Syte built some industry-leading technology that brings images (and videos) to life, and somehow, I had never heard of them.
Long story short, I met with Lihi, Co-Founder and CMO, and we talked tech and marketing. Something instantly clicked. I loved this company. Anyway, a few meetings later and I decided, given the quality of their tech (more on that later), the team, who I have to say was super impressive, and the space, which was just waiting for someone to own it, I decided I was going to help this company any way I could.
A few intros, some brainstorming sessions, and strategic discussions later, Lihi and I decided we should be working together in a more official capacity. I have to say, a month in, this company is truly unique on so many levels.
Why Visual Search?
While Syte is now applying its technology in the fashion world, you don’t have to be too creative to see how this will change all industries. Think about it, the web used to be primarily text-based. Articles. Then came social and with it “Micro blogging” aka 140 characters or less. People have shorter attention spans. The next step was the visual web. Instagram, Pinterest, and many others. So what comes next? Taking the power of the internet, the concept of hyperlinking that we are familiar with from the early days, and applying it to images and videos.
In other words, just like a word can be linked to a URL, it is only natural for the same concept to apply to visual assets. For that to work though, we need image recognition and computer vision the likes of which the market has not seen yet. Until now.
With Syte’s tech, consumers are able to snap a photo of any article of clothing, and using a Facebook Messenger bot, get instant links to buy a nearly identical item. That bot can be found here, try it, it’s magical. But Syte’s real magic happens in the business world. Think about publishers who are working on finding innovative and non-intrusive ways to monetize their content. Unsuccessfully, I might add. Ads, paywalls, etc. In 2017, we can do better.
Think about brands that are struggling to stand out and bring consumers back to their sites. Now, all of the visual assets on both a publisher and a brand’s website can easily become the top of the purchasing funnel. Every image can automatically turn into a hyperlink to the item where the consumer can purchase it. Not only a new revenue stream, but the ability to take what were static images until today and bring them to life by adding a new layer on top!
Lihi tells the story about how her daughter was holding a physical photograph and was trying to pinch to zoom on it, only to discover and complain to her mom that “It wasn’t working.” We are used to interacting with images and videos in the mobile era, but given Syte’s technology, we can bring that behavior to all platforms and turn that interaction into transactions!
Here is the thing with visual search. It has been tried many times and always failed because it just wasn’t accurate enough. I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus here, but as I write these words, I am looking at some benchmarks of Syte’s tech vs the visual recognition and search from other companies. It isn’t pretty. Unless you are Syte, then it is gorgeous. This thing works. Finally!
Syte’s tech aside, as disruptive as it might be, I see a lot of cool tech, that is not why I joined this company. It is the team and their passion that got me. Lihi and Ofer, who by the way are also husband and wife, have put together a truly remarkable team and one that I feel honored to be a part of.
Anyway, Syte is a company that has the potential to define a new vertical, with a team that I believe can execute on that vision, in a time that consumers, publishers, and brands are hungry for this type of solution. In other words, this company is smokin hot and I am honored that they would have me as an advisor!
Excited for the journey ahead! Enjoy the new Syte video below and try the bot here!