In a significant move, Taboola acquired Gravity, solidifying their partnership and expanding their capabilities in personalized recommendations. The acquisition brought together Taboola's content discovery platform, its pursuit to become a major player also in the e-commerce digital marketing field and Gravity's expertise in e-commerce personalization, machine learning and data analysis. This strategic merger allowed Taboola to leverage Gravity's advanced algorithms and enhance the personalization features for their clients. The integration of Gravity's technology into Taboola's platform further strengthened their position as a leader in content recommendation and personalization solutions. Gravity becomes: Gravity R&D, a Taboola company.
By that time, the collaboration between Gravity R&D and Taboola had already commenced, focusing on the joint development of a DCO. After agreeing in the terms of a long-term commercial collaboration, Taboola started to acquire early adopter clients to DCO. This successful partnership enabled Taboola to enter the e-commerce market, offering a product for online merchants, and targeting visitors with relevant product offerings. With the quick growth of the number of clients, and, accordingly, the traffic, the cooperation between the teams became closer and closer.
Early 2019, Taboola approached Gravity R&D to collaborate on personalized product selection for their new e-commerce product, Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO). With a deep integration of Gravity and Taboola pixels, our cooperation enabled Taboola to display personalized product offering for the visitors across their platform. After a lengthy and competitive selection process, Gravity was selected as the best performing vendor and long-term collaboration negotiations started.
The major product of the company, Gravity Reco, was rebranded to Yusp to reflect the uniqueness of the product in a unique brand name. The company introduced multiple personalization modules with the brand change, including personalized search, email personalization and O2O personalization, etc., offering a comprehensive personalization solution to its clients.
The first self-service personalization engine was introduced to the market in Q4 2015. The predecessor of Yuspify, originally named Recoplatform was developed as a tailored personalization solution for small and medium-sized e-commerce businesses. It aimed to provide lightweight and ready-to-use recommendations, enhancing the customer experience and driving engagement for businesses in the e-commerce sector.
Portfolion, the venture capital and private equity arm of the largest Hungarian Bank, OTP, has become the second investor of Gravity, further strengthening the company's position. The investment from Portfolion signifies the recognition of Gravity's potential and their innovative approach. With this new partnership, Gravity gains additional resources and support, allowing them to continue their growth and expand their reach in the international market.
The precursor to the Yusp personalization engine, coined Gravity Reco, marked the first appearance of Gravity in the market. Supported also by the recognition of the Netflix prize, Gravity managed to acquire the first handful of Reco clients, including the flagship of the Docler enterprise. At this early time, Reco was capable of serving over 6000 requests per sec, which was an outstanding achievement at the time. Gravity focused on both major industrial segments: webshops/marketplaces and media and entertainment companies, with a special focus on IPTV and Cable TV players. The main Reco service offering was recommendation boxes with relevant content/product on clients’ sites that was the starting point for the company's future endeavors in providing personalized recommendations and leveraging their expertise in machine learning and data analysis to enhance user experiences across multiple industries.
Following their successful participation in the Netflix Prize contest, Gravity Research and Development received their first investment in 2009. Docler Holding, a company specializing in technology and media, decided to be a strategic angel investor of the company. This investment provided a significant boost to the company, enabling them to hire the first employees and to start to work on productization, marketing and sales.
The contest began in October 2006, challenging participants to improve the accuracy of Netflix's own recommendation system by 10% in an offline movie rating prediction problem. The Gravity team, consisting of 4 researchers from Budapest University of Technology, Gábor Takács, István Pilászy, Bottyán Németh and Domonkos Tikk, faced a tough competition from over 41,000 teams worldwide. The contest lasted over two and a half years, with Gravity consistently ranking high. However, achieving the 10% improvement proved difficult, with progress slowing down towards the end. From mid 2009, top contender teams started to cooperate and formed larger teams by mergers to boost winning chances. While Gravity led The Ensemble team, their rivals BellKor's Pragmatic Chaos emerged as the winner by submitting their winning entry with the same score as The Ensemble, just 20 minutes earlier. The experience gained at the competition was not in vain: Gravity gained recognition, published 20+ academic papers, and the four guys founded Gravity Research & Development that became a successful player in personalization engines.