US retail giant Walmart plans to acquire an augmented reality (AR) startup founded by Israeli entrepreneurs to power its optical healthcare operations across the country, the company announced on Wednesday.
Walmart said it has entered into an agreement to purchase Memomi, founded in 2014 by Ofer Saban and Salvador Nissi Vilcovsky, for an undisclosed amount.
Memomi has developed an AR platform that allows customers to virtually ‘try on’ products and clothing and receive personalized recommendations based on style and preferences. The company also developed the Memory Mirror, a smart full-size “magic” mirror where shoppers can digitally browse a range of options while recording and viewing their try-on sessions. These mirrors were installed in about three dozen Neiman Marcus stores in the US in 2019.
The company has collaborated with other retailers such as Sephora, L’Oréal and Lancome, as well as luxury brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Dior and La Mer.
Memomi has also partnered with Walmart since 2019, enabling digital eye care measurements for customers at more than 2,800 Walmart Vision Centers and 550 Sam’s Clubs (a subsidiary of Walmart) and on SamsClub.com, Walmart said in the announcement Wednesday.
The acquisition, Walmart said, “is the next step in Walmart’s journey to provide personalized, affordable access to optical care.”
“Customers are looking for access to digital healthcare at home, and buying glasses is no different,” said David Reitnauer, VP of Specialty Services at Walmart Health & Wellness. “This acquisition supports our Health & Wellness mission to provide accessible care to the communities we serve.”
The acquisition will close in the coming weeks, after which Memomi employees will join Walmart Global Tech, the technology and business services organization within Walmart manned by software engineers, data scientists, cybersecurity experts, and business service professionals.
Memomi is headquartered in Palo Alto, California, with offices in Paris and Tokyo and an R&D center in Rehovot headed by Saban, who serves as chief technology officer (CTO). Saban previously served as CTO of MobileAccess, a wireless networking solutions company, which was purchased in 2011 by US tech company Corning for $150 million.
According to CalcalistMemomi employs 10 people in Israel.
Cheryl Ainoa, senior VP of New Businesses & Emerging Tech at Walmart Global Tech, said the organization was “excited to welcome the Memomi team to Walmart and add their capabilities to our industry-leading virtual reality technology that enhances the shopping experience for our customers.” transforms customers and members. †
Vilcovsky, who is the CEO of Memomi, said the company was looking forward to joining Walmart and “offering our innovations and user experiences on such a large scale, both in-store and online.”
The Memomi acquisition will be Walmart’s third acquisition of an Israel-based company.
The retail company, with reported annual revenue of $523,964 billion in 2020, purchased Israeli developer of the virtual fitting room platform Zeekit last year, introduced the technology on the Walmart app and Walmart.com in March†
In 2019, Walmart acquired Israel-based Aspectiva, a startup that uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing technologies to analyze consumer opinions across the internet with the goal of creating a better shopping experience.
Aspectiva joined Walmart’s Store N° 8, an incubation arm the retailer launched in 2017 to tap into new ideas in commerce.
Walmart has also made a number of investments in Israeli companies and organizations. In 2018, the retail company made a strategic investment in Team8, an Israeli think tank and tech incubator; it also launched a joint venture with Eko, an interactive media and technology company with offices in Tel Aviv and New York; and joined The Bridge, a technology accelerator connecting global companies with the technology startup community in Israel.