Alibaba has made another major Commerce investment — this time aimed at improving eCommerce search for products.
The Chinese Internet giant has thrown its support behind Twiggle, an Israeli technology company, which recently raised $20 million. This funding round was led by Naspers, a South African conglomerate, but Alibaba participated in the round. Prior to Alibaba's investment, Twiggle had raised $14.7 million.
While Alibaba didn't specifically explain why it has invested in the company, any investment Alibaba makes in the eCommerce space is a pretty obvious one. Twiggle specifically targets its service toward something any player — Alibaba included — is always seeking: refining the search for products on eCommerce sites.
Now, with the involvement of major investors, analysts suggested that this is a sign of how much focus is being placed on the eCommerce market as it continues its rapid growth.
“We were looking for investors who could help us understand the industry better and who are interested in the next generation of solutions for eCommerce,” said Amir Konigsberg, Twiggle's CEO, told The Wall Street Journal. “With 9 million different sellers, Taobao is one of the biggest and most challenging sites out there.”
What might be the biggest selling point for Alibaba is Twiggle's query language tool that has the ability to help narrow search results for shoppers based on AI and behavioral data. Particularly on mobile, where Alibaba has placed a heavy focus, this could be useful as more and more searchers want targeted searches via mobile.
“An investment into Twiggle makes perfect sense when you look at Alibaba’s core revenue stream,” Rushabh Doshi, an analyst at research firm Canalys, told WSJ. “It will help ensure that product search results are relevant to the user."