Facebook Buys AI Online Shopping Start-Up

April Davis By April Davis | 12 Feb 2019

Facebook has purchased the digital start-up responsible for IKEA’s AI mobile app.

Facebook has confirmed its acquisition of tech start-up, GrokStyle. The business, which uses artificial intelligence to help shoppers search for furniture and home décor is believed to be part of Facebook’s continued efforts in the realm of AI and e-commerce.

“We are excited to welcome GrokStyle to Facebook,” spokeswoman, Vanessa Chan said in a statement. “Their team and technology will contribute to our AI capabilities,” she continued.

The San-Francisco-based software company said in a blog post that GrokStyle will be “moving on as a team” but that it will live on, continuing to use its AI capabilities to “build great visual experiences for retail”.

“We founded GrokStyle to reimagine the retail experience. We built state-of-the-art AI and visual search technology to help consumers readily find, explore, and decide on purchases. We partnered with major retailers, demonstrated revenue lift with our technology, and improved the lives of consumers across the globe,” the company said.

IKEA is among the retailers using AI tech from GrokStyle to power its mobile shopping experience.

“We will continue using our AI to build great visual search experiences for retail. As part of this next chapter, we are winding down our business.”

In the note on its website, GrokStyle makes no mention to the Facebook acquisition, however, the business did update its LinkedIn page to reflect the sale.

This is the second reported acquisition Facebook has made in the tech space this year, with the business also acquiring blockchain technology company, Chainspace earlier in the month for an undisclosed sum. This is in addition to at least four start-up purchases in 2018 including companies specialising in messaging and AI tech.

Facebook hasn’t disclosed how much it paid for GrokStyle.

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