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eBay acquires an artificial intelligence and analytics company

May 6, 2016 04:32 PM
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EBay Inc. took another step this week to better organize its product data and make items easier to find when the online marketplace acquired a Swedish company focused on artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data analytics.

EBay bought Malmo, Sweden-based Expertmaker, which has worked with eBay since 2010 and also has offices in San Francisco. Terms were not disclosed. When the transaction is final, Expertmaker employees will become part of eBay’s structured data product and technology team, with founder and CEO Lars Hard joining as director, data science, according to eBay.

The online marketplace continues to press its initiative to have sellers define their products using structured data, which means characterizing items in a standard way. Doing so makes it easier for eBay to show relevant search results on its marketplaces.

“As a part of eBay, Expertmaker's technology, expertise and talented engineers will play an important role in helping advance eBay’s structured data initiative,” says Amit Menipaz, vice president and general manager of Structured Data at eBay. “EBay’s structured data effort is a multiyear journey, and we believe the innovation and significant expertise that Expertmaker brings to eBay will help us build a best-in-class product catalog and in turn better serve our customers.”

Last month, eBay reported that 60% of items listed on the marketplace in Q1 2016 conformed to its structured data rules, up from 37% in Q4 2015. EBay expanded structured data to eight more categories and its marketplace sites in three more countries—France, Italy and Spain. EBay is requiring structured data product descriptions from sellers in 18 categories and eight countries.

Expertmaker was founded in 2006 by Hard, who was involved in several startups focused on artificial intelligence, machine learning, math and big data. He will lead the structured data product and technology team at eBay while also holding the position of visiting lecturer at Lund University in Sweden.

“In partnership with eBay, we will be able to transcend traditional machine learning approaches to create adaptive and learning solutions using the Expertmaker platform,” Hard says.

 

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