Tel Aviv-based Pounce, a mobile shopping app that surfaces deals from retailers, as well as a way to shop print ads and catalogs from your smartphone, has been acquired by visual search company Slyce for $5 million in shares, cash and earn-out incentives. The deal wasn’t entirely a talent grab either, says Slyce, as the company was already on track to roll out a consumer-facing app of its own. The technology from Pounce is helping it to speed things up.
Additionally, the technology from Pounce will be offered to Slyce’s retailer customers.
Pounce, for a bit of background, is the main product from BuyCode, founded in 2012. The app was tackling one of the harder aspects to mobile shopping: the checkout process. But instead of strictly going after e-commerce website integrations, for example, the app worked with retail partners and other third parties to link item photos to inventory and pricing information. The end result was an app that allowed consumers to scan items – like retailer circulars or magazine ads – or browse through a series of deals, then checkout in just a couple of clicks.
It was an e-commerce experience, essentially, since the retailers’ commerce platforms were involved in making the sales happen, but it was one that began through a different sort of user activity – scanning and snapping, not surfing the web.
As of last year, the app supported retailers like Macy’s, Ace Hardware, Target, Toys “R” Us, Babies “R” Us, Staples, Best Buy, and more. More recent integrations included other large brands like Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay.
According to Slyce, one of the things that made Pounce’s technology desirable was that it allowed customers to continue to checkout items from multiple retailers’ commerce platforms after entering in their payment information just one time. That’s still a difficult aspect to mobile shopping today, which a number of companies are tackling, including PayPal with its new SDKs and One Touch product, as well as Google with Google Wallet, and Apple more recently with its Apple Pay for mobile apps.
Now image recognition startup Slyce has something similar, thanks to this acquisition.
For those unfamiliar with Slyce, the Toronto-based image recognition startup itself offers similar technology to “Amazon Flow” or Amazon’s Firefly feature in its new Amazon Fire smartphones. Firefly lets you point your Amazon phone at objects in the real world, and then buy them (from Amazon, naturally!).
Slyce, meanwhile, has been partnering with major retailers so they can offer the same to their own customers, as well as video and audio recognition, QR and barcode scanning, and NFC. Once items are scanned with Slyce, they can be purchased immediately.
However, Slyce had been focusing on retail customers until now, not the consumer. That will change in Q4 2014 when the company rolls out its own consumer app that will be capable of recognizing objects in the real world and enabling one-click purchases. Call it “Amazon Firefly” for the rest of retail, perhaps. Pounce fits in nicely by helping Slyce save on development time and investment with its B2C strategy.
Following the acquisition, Pounce’s team will join Slyce and CEO Avital Yachin will join the company’s executive team.
“We’re incredibly excited to be acquiring both the technology and the immense talent that Pounce comes with,” said Slyce CEO Mark Elfenbein in a prepared statement. “We are consistently looking to add and perfect the functionality we can offer major retailers with the Slyce visual search platform.”