In 2014, a Toronto based startup called Slyce, Inc. raised more than $10 million in capital to develop a new visual search on slyce.it technology for retail use. The algorithm they developed collects a mountain of data regarding minute features of almost any product or object and then matches it with millions of online images to create a match. Obviously visual search technology is not a new thing, but Slyce’s revolutionary algorithm takes it to a whole new level.
Slyce’s algorithm allows it to measure and sift through a mountain of individualized features to come up with an exact product match – from the length of a belt loop to the distance between two buttons. Slyce technology relies on features that are fixed and do not change on a product, and yet are unique to that individual product. In 2014, they tested their product with 6 of the top 20 retail chains in the US and are reported to have contracts with as many as 10 of the top 20 chains.
But retailers are not the only ones showing an avid interest in what Slyce has to offer. In mid-November 2015, Slyce, Inc. Board of Directors received a letter from James Beals, CEO of Quest Ventures – a private venture capital company – offering 85 cents per share, in cash, to acquire the company. That price represents a premium of greater than 485.17% over the unaffected common stock price of Slyce, Inc. as of the day before the letter was sent.
Beals has made it clear that his intention is to grow the Slyce, Inc. valuation as a private company and to further invest $35M for R&D. He believes that Slyce offers unique applications for both commercial and defense based use. After a number of unsuccessful attempts to reach Slyce CEO Mark Elfenbein, Beals issued a letter directly to the Slyce, Inc. Board of Directors stating his intentions to acquire Slyce, Inc. and what it was he had to offer. He stated that his preference would have been to be able to work with Slyce on a “confidential and cooperative basis” but had been unable to open meaningful channels of communication with Slyce, Inc.
As of yet, Slyce, Inc. has not responded to Quest Venture’s offer, but it’s not hard to envision the many military applications that could be developed from Slyce’s technology. While there has been no direct indication of this, that could potentially be the reason for reticence on the part of Slyce, Inc. to respond to Quest Venture’s offer.