How Two Israeli Startups Are Changing Retail

Written by
Sharon Feiereisen

Find out why everyone's buzzing about Syte and Tipa - two Israeli startups with the potential to disrupt retail products and services on a global scale

The Israeli startup community never ceases to amaze. From life-saving medical technologies to cybersecurity innovations to game-changing payment conduits, this tiny country has thousands of startups positively influencing the way the world at large works. Recently two startups have been getting a particularly feverish amount of buzz: Syte and Tipa. This is particularly interesting because they are both b2b (business to business) startups, which rarely stir up as much excitement among the general public as companies with products or services that sell directly to consumers. 

Courtesy of Syte

Syte is basically Shazam for shopping. They power visual search, product recommendations, and deep tagging for major retailers like Tommy Hilfiger and Farfetch. What this means for the consumer is a better, faster, more satisfying online shopping experience. When a buyer goes to a brand’s website that uses Syte they can do things like upload an image of an item they want and in a matter of seconds Syte will work to generate all visually similar products within a retailer’s site. They’re not the first startup to attempt to do this, but they are far and away the best at doing it and given how prominent their clients are, they are truly transforming product discovery. 

Syte has already raised millions and with five offices around the globe and massive hiring plans, they are fast-growing as the leader in the visual AI space for retail.

Tipa, meanwhile, is a packaging company whose aim is to tackle the massive plastic waste issue. The Israeli company makes plastic packaging that is 100 percent compostable while looking and behaving exactly like the plastic we all know. Just like with Syte, it’s astounding that it has taken a small startup to solve a problem that giants have struggled with for years. 

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Here’s how it works: Tipa packaging is made using fossil and plant material-fueled machinery used to manufacture conventional plastic, but with small tweaks, it’s able to produce an end product that is completely compostable – and not just if you dutifully compost it, because let’s face it, how many of us are actually composting our waste? Even if you throw Tipa packaging out with your regular trash it will degrade. The caveat is that this degradation does not happen overnight, or even close to overnight. In optimal conditions – say if you’re truly composting in your backyard – it takes six months. In all other conditions (i.e. most) it takes years, but that’s still better than the forever you get with run-of-the-mill plastic.

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That said, the fact it takes Tipa six months-plus to start to come apart has its upside. For example, fashion designers like Gabriela Hearst who replaced all of the plastic bags for her garments with Tipa wouldn’t want to have Tipa degrading in her showroom after 24 hours. The same goes for the brands using Tips for foodstuff. 

The catch? As you might have guessed, price. Until the type of packaging Tipa is manufacturing becomes commonplace it will remain more expensive – but major change can’t happen overnight.  Thankfully, there are options. 

Syte (

Tipa (

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