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Israeli Startup Renovai Offers Visual AI Shopping Assistance

Renovai brought in $3.7 million in seed funding.

Renovai founders (company pic Photo: Yarin Taranos)

Renovai is an Israeli startup that offers a service for visualizing one’s home interior design for the purpose of shopping. It does so using virtual intelligence, AI. Renovai just completed a seed round of funding, bringing in $3.7 million.

Renovai is short for “renovate” and “AI.” The seed round was co-led by Canadian tech fund Verstra Ventures and Australia’s leading retailer Temple & Webster. Alchemist Accelerator, NGN Partners, Citrine and Fusion also participated in the round.

Founded in 2018 by CEO Alon Gilady, CTO Dr. Avner Priel and COO Alon Chelben, renovai is the first-ever virtual interior designer which provides visual artificial intelligence shopping assistance for lifestyle brands. Gilady and Chelben met in college while studying Economics at Tel Aviv University. There the two realized that they had a shared interest in creating and developing projects from scratch and decided to become business partners. After graduating, they founded a 3D-visualization studio for interior designers, providing photo-realistic CGI renders of interior and exterior settings. This project was their gateway to the virtual design realm.

Gilady and Chelben explain that they started renovai based on their accumulated experience and their enhanced understanding of the design process. Seeing a growing consumer demand, they planned out the idea of creating a fully automated, AI-based stylist which could completely change the way people shop online and add in the required context for a confident purchase.

“With minimal integration time and resources, we provide real-time visual AI solutions empowering retailers to create unbeatable, inspiring and personal interactions with shoppers.”

Avner Priel, who holds a Ph.D in physics and is a well-known expert in the fields of machine learning and computer vision, was intrigued by the idea of using his knowledge in a domain far removed from his everyday work and joined Renovai as the 3rd co-founder and the company’s chief technology officer.

The company explains that it provides a service for those people confounded by “choice paralysis.” This is the theory that the more options people have to choose from, the harder the decision becomes. “It’s just too hard to make up our minds. Finding the right path to a happy shopper heart and mind is tricky and complex especially when items are presented as individuals, lacking context,” says renovai.

One renovai solution is called “Shop the Room.” This offers full room scenes, creating a completely different setting for each shopper around the same anchor product. Another is called “Virtual Designer.” Renovai says that this is a playful and interactive 3D solution ascertaining the shoppers’ needs and requirements, ideal for designing a full room with the most relevant items.

“We were impressed by the value renovai unlocks by bridging the gap between design methodology and AI abilities, generating new revenue opportunities for online furniture and homeware retailers. They have huge potential to revolutionize the way shoppers will interact with brands,” said Matan Hazanov, vice president of Vestra Ventures. “Their insights into the current industry demand an end customer-centric approach, and we are excited to partner with them.”

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