eBay buys predictive analytics company SalesPredict

Steven Loeb · July 11, 2016 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/4672

eBay will be putting the SalesPredict team to work on understanding what inventory to show customers

For eBay, one of the company's most important initiatives these days is to make the shopping experience better for both buyers and sellers, specifically through the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning. The company wants to better understand what it is that its customers want, and what they're looking for. 

To that end, eBay has acquired SalesPredict, a predictive analytics company, it was announced on Monday.

No financial terms of the deal were disclosed, but this seems to be mostly an acqui-hire, as an undisclosed number of SalesPredict’s employees will be join eBay’s structured data organization, working from eBay’s Israeli Development Center in Netanya.

That includes Yaron Zakai-Or, Co-Founder and CEO of SalesPredict, who will serve as a Director of Product Management, Technology, as well as  Kira Radinsk, Co-Founder and CTO of the company, who will be Director of Data Science & Chief Scientist, eBay Israel.

The company's structured data initiative is its effort to improve listings on its site. It contains three components: collecting data; processing and enrich the data, and creating product experiences. That means requiring sellers to provide product data, enhancing content with images and descriptions, and, finally, making it easier for buyers by simplifying  the inventory, improving search, and better targeting.

SalesPredict helps helps B2B companies increase revenue by identifying who their best potential prospects and accounts are, and providing insights that improve conversion rates and accelerate sales cycles. Now eBay wants to take that expertise and apply it to getting the best conversion rates from its own customers.

"As eBay continues its focus on developing the world’s largest product catalog, the acquisition of SalesPredict will help us better understand what inventory we should surface and which product attributes we should emphasize," a spokesperson from eBay told me.

For buyers, SalesPredict’s predictive analytics will help eBay surface more targeted, relevant offers with relevant information for buyers. And, it will help the company better understand the price differentiating attributes of our products. For sellers, by applying SalesPredict’s predictive analytics capabilities to eBay’s vast array of data, it will help the company "build out the predictive models that can define the probability of selling a given product, at a given price over time."

"We believe we can provide better guidance, particularly to our C2C sellers. This includes providing sellers with parameters that match price to audience and market.  Additionally, eBay will be able to better guide our sellers to fill in certain information during the listing flow process to help them achieve a better selling outcome," I was told.

As for what will happen to SalesPredict going forward, the eBay spokesperson told me that, when the deal closes, which is expected to happen this year, "both SalesPredict and its brand will become fully integrated into eBay."

"We are acquiring SalesPredict primarily for their talent and deep expertise in machine learning, natural language processing and predictive analytics.  Following the close of the acquisition, we will evaluate what technology of SalesPredict will be integrated into eBay’s platform," the spokesperson said. 

This isn't eBay first acquisition in this space this year; in May it purchased Swedish intelligent automation and optimization platform ExpertMaker, whose employees also joined eBay’s structured data product and technology team.

Founded in 2012, SalesPredict had raised $5.1 million in venture funding from investors that included Yandex, AfterDox, Redline Capital, KGC Capital, and Pitango Venture Capital.

(Image source: ebayinc.com)

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