Facebook acquires shopping startup GrokStyle launched by Indian origin woman

In an attempt to enable users shop better using Artificial Intelligence, Facebook has acquired  a startup founded by an Indian-origin woman, GrokStyle, for an undisclosed amount.

Founded in 2015 by Kavita Bala and Sean Bell, Grokstyle has developed an app that automatically identifies furniture and home decor from just about any picture or angle. Kavita is a graduate from IIT-Bombay (1992) and and did her PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and holds a chair at Cornell University.

“We are excited to welcome GrokStyle to Facebook. Their team and technology will contribute to our AI capabilities,” CNET quoted Facebook spokeswoman, Vanessa Chan.

The GrokStyle purchase marks the second reported acquisition by Facebook this year. Photo courtesy: GrokStyle's Facebook Account

“We founded GrokStyle to re imagine 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. We are incredibly proud of what we have built — and believe we have only scratched the surface of what is possible with computer vision,” GrokStyle wrote in a blog-post.

“Today, we are excited to share that we are moving on as a team. Our team and technology will live on, and we will continue using our AI to build great visual search experiences for retail,” it added.

GrokStyle was named one of the 100 most promising private AI companies globally by CB Insights. Ikea, the biggest furniture retailer in the world, has also integrated GrokStyle’s visual search capability into the Ikea Place app.

The GrokStyle purchase marks the second reported acquisition by Facebook this year.