Since meeting with Syte, I’ve been walking around the Viola offices taking pictures of my coworkers in their hip and snazzy outfits. Within seconds, I found my self browsing online finding the exact same dresses or jeans. The convenience, speed and accuracy of the results were game changing.
Which is why I was so happy to join Ronen Nir, also known as Dr. Saas, to the meeting that led to us (at Viola Ventures) to invest in the company’s B round. We simply realized that the holy grail of shopping had arrived.
Syte’s users can now take a photo of a shirt or piece of furniture they see in magazines, on the street or on social media and that product can be sourced and purchased within minutes. Users no longer need to find the right word combinations to describe what they are looking for or sift through thousands of results.
The Viola-Syte relationship: Third time’s a charm
Surprisingly though, during their first two rounds of funding their proposal was rejected.
Originally, we believed that the mega players (Google, Amazon, Microsoft, etc) would solve the problem themselves and that the retail industry wasn’t big enough to be a stand-alone focus.
It wasn’t until the third round that we began to understand how their solution drastically set them apart from the many mega players who attempted to master the visual search algorithm.
We also couldn’t ignore their rapid growth of 400% in revenues and the mega retailers that are using their solution today – from Farfetch to Marks & Spencer, boohoo, and Tommy Hilfiger. The feedback from the market was clear and swift and the rate of adoption of Syte’s solution was unparalleled.
Syte’s technology is a game changer
First and foremost, the team behind Syte understood and were persistent that retail is an entirely different market that needs to have a unique and dedicated solution. The importance of acute attention to detail, detecting patterns in fabric, texture, etc., in retail is significant.
Syte’s CTO (and co-founder), Dr. Helge Voss, is a renowned physicist who helped discover the ‘God-Particle’ while working at CERN in Geneva. Leveraging Dr. Voss’s background in physics, they developed a unique perspective and way of thinking using deep learning and neural-networks. Thus, Syte developed a solution that, according to companies like Microsoft which tested the solution, is two to six times more accurate than competing technologies and has a much better integration time.
Coupled with a precise capability for multi-object detection as well as the ability to detect natural pictures (i.e. social media) with multiple people and multiple garments, Syte’s technology is a game changer in the retail industry.
In the current competitive market, where Gen Z continues to emerge as the next biggest purchasing powerhouse, retailers are constantly striving to differentiate themselves. These companies are being forced to dramatically reimagine their implementation of digital tools in order to speak to this generation through visuals. Syte’s product entails a few simple solutions that make an intuitive and convenient experience for shoppers; the product simply resonates well with this generation’s demands – immediate gratification, frictionless interaction and massive personalization.
Syte’s secret sauce
There is one more thing which in my mind is the secret sauce of this company- in case you’ve missed it. The founders, Lihi and Ofer, are husband and wife, and Idan is Lihi’s brother. The family intimacy between the founders, is one of the ingredients that enabled them to scale so successfully. Their genuine passion and dedication to their product, combined with an unparalleled level of support for their customers, led directly to the impressive customer satisfaction we saw during the due diligence process.
As this is my first investment since joining Viola Ventures, it’s been an excellent learning experience as to how SaaS startups should look in the eyes of VCs. Hyper-growth, customer retention, product expansion and efficiency are just the tip of the iceberg of what this team does so well.
I’m therefore thrilled to be aboard this rocket ship alongside Ronen Nir, our GP leading this investment, and would like to formally welcome Syte to the Viola family.
PS: To all of the entrepreneurs reading this, remember never to take rejection as everlasting. At Viola, when we say “we would love to keep in touch,” we mean it. Things constantly change, and we encourage you to never give up. We only invest in 1% of the companies we see.
Syte is planning to hire 70 new team members for 2020 in their US and Tel Aviv offices to support their growing clientele and facilitate their anticipated 300% revenue growth in the coming year.
Want to join them? Check out their careers page here.