Pinterest has about 70 million active users -- or users that
visit Pinterest more than once a month -- according to comScore.
Advertisers include Bank of America, Kia, Kraft, Unilever, General Motors,
Target, Procter &
Gamble and others.
Kosei's point of differentiation is that it has people who are
highly skilled in data science, machine learning and recommendation
engines, "who've created a unique technology stack that drives
commerce by making highly personalized and powerful product
recommendations," said the company in a statement. "Kosei has built
a highly intelligent system for sifting and organizing massive data
sets and making recommendations." Pinterest also said that Kosei is
building a graph that understands more than 400 million
relationships across 30 million products.
Kosei was founded in 2014 in Palo Alto, Calif., by Lance Riedel
and Jure Leskovec. Prior to co-founding Kosei, Mr. Riedel was chief
technology officer at The Hive, an "incubation studio that funds
and launches big data businesses focused on intelligent decision
making," according to the statement. Mr. Leskovec is an assistant
professor of computer science at Stanford University. His research
focuses on "mining and modeling large social and information
networks, their evolution and diffusion of information and
influence over them," the statement said.
Pinterest uses machine learning for things like algorithms that
allow object recognition and related object recommendations, ad
click prediction and to detect spam content and users.
"We're sitting on a very large amount of consumer insights
associated with brand actions, and this acquisition will help us
accelerate our ad-product development," said Ms. Bradford. In other
words, Pinterest is banking on the acquisition improving the
precision of the placement of the Promoted Pin, making it more
relevant for both the brand and the user.
She added: "Most marketers try to force themselves into a place
via retargeting with no context, but we think we can build a better
recommendation product for a variety of things like products,
places, recipes, what outfit to wear, based on applying Kosei's
engineering skill set to the data."
"With these leaders in machine learning and recommendation
systems, we can move faster in discovery and monetization, and
building an infrastructure to help brands better understand
customer intention and deliver the best content to Pinners," said
Michael Lopp, head of Pinterest engineering, in a statement.