Silicon Valley e-commerce giant eBay Inc (NASDAQ: EBAY) agreed to acquire Israeli behavioral analytics startup SalesPredict to support its artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science efforts.
SalesPredict was co-founded in 2012 by Yaron Zakai-Or and Kira Radinsky, and its main investors include Yandex, AfterDox, Redline Capital, KGC Capital, and Pitango Venture Capital.
Prior to SalesPredict, Zakai-Or held various product management positions at Kontera, Microsoft and Quiver.
Dr. Radinsky is a graduate of Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. She was recognized by Forbes in 2015 as one of “30 Under 30 in Enterprise Tech” and was named to the prestigious “35 Young Innovators Under 35” by the MIT Technology Review in 2013. In 2014, Forbes named her one of the “50 Most Influential Women in Israel.”
She is one of the up-and-coming voices in the data science community, pioneering the field of Web Dynamics and Temporal Information Retrieval. Her work focuses on the intersection of predictive data mining and the construction of algorithms that leverage information found on the web and external dynamics to predict future events.
Radinsky, a young prodigy, grabbed headlines in 2013 by co-developing, with Microsoft Research head Eric Horvitz, “a sophisticated software tool that can predict disasters of many types, including disease outbreaks, violence and natural catastrophes,” according to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The software works by culling through digitized newspaper clippings and other online sources looking for correlations. The MFA also noted that “she has a black belt in karate, an art she’s been practicing since age five.”
SalesPredict will join eBay’s existing development center in Netanya that specializes in data science and is led by Yuval Matalon. After the closing, a number of SalesPredict’s employees will join eBay’s structured data organization, working from eBay’s Israeli Development Center in Netanya. Zakai-Or will serve as a Director of Product Management, Technology, and Radinsky will be Director of Data Science & Chief Scientist, eBay Israel.
“As a data scientist at heart, I’ve always been interested in exploring the myriad ways we can leverage data to predict future high impact events,” said Radinsky. “In founding SalesPredict, our vision was to bring about a major change in how business is conducted by unifying micro- and macro-economic predictions. Today, this vision has yielded state-of-the-art automated data science capabilities. I am excited to have the opportunity to bring these capabilities to eBay’s community and ecosystem.”
“With more than 900 million listings on eBay, there is an enormous opportunity to extend our experience in machine learning and predictive analytics to help eBay identify important product attributes that can affect the price of a product,” said Zakai-Or. “In partnership with eBay’s broader structured data team, we will help arm eBay sellers with more information about the value of items, ultimately helping to increase customer sales conversions.”
“Today’s agreement to acquire SalesPredict builds upon our recently completed acquisition of Expertmaker, marking another milestone for eBay in our plans to apply world class learning approaches to building the world’s most comprehensive product catalog and pricing guide,” said Amit Menipaz, Vice President and General Manager of Structured Data at eBay.
SalesPredict’s deep expertise in predictive analytics and machine learning will contribute to eBay’s structured data efforts. For its buyers, it will help eBay better understand the price differentiating attributes of its products, and, for its sellers, it will help build out predictive models that can define the probability of selling a given product, at a given price over time.
There are three key efforts that comprise eBay’s structured data initiative: collect the data; process and enrich the data; and create product experiences, says the company, adding that SalesPredict will contribute to data processing and enrichment, specifically with respect to inventory insights.
eBay Inc. operates e-commerce platforms that connect buyers and sellers worldwide. The company’s platforms enable users to find, buy, sell, and pay for items through various online, mobile, and offline channels, which include retailers, distributors, liquidators, import and export companies, auctioneers, catalog and mail-order companies, classifieds, directories, search engines, commerce participants, shopping channels, and networks. eBay was founded in 1995 and is headquartered in San Jose, California. The company has a market capitalization of $28.8 billion.
Photo: Dr. Kira Radinsky, recipient of the Technology Pioneer Award, at The Times of Israel Gala, Waldorf Astoria, New York City, February 15, 2015. (Source: YouTube)