The former Neeva search engine was acquired by data cloud platform company Snowflake, hinting at the future integration of Neeva AI search technology into its products.
Neeva was founded by two former Google executives with the vision of creating a search engine that didn’t show ads or sell user data.
Their path to monetization was based on the idea that consumers who valued their privacy would subscribe to a search engine that offered a better user experience.
Their initial choice to create a consumer search engine was a bit me-too in a tough market where even a big competitor like Microsoft had trouble breaking users out of the habit of looking to Google for answers.
However, Neeva attracted investment from major Silicon Valley firms such as Sequoia Capital, an early investor in companies such as Google, Apple and Snowflake.
The Neeva team focused on building an AI-enhanced search engine and unveiled it in early 2023. But it was quickly overshadowed by Microsoft’s AI integration.
After a few months, it seems that it became clear that AI was not enough to get more users and a path to monetization, so on May 20, 2023, they chose to shut down the search engine and explore how to leverage its AI experience in the business sector.
“Over the past year, we have seen the clear and urgent need to use LLMs effectively, economically, safely and responsibly.
Many of the techniques we pioneered with small models, shrinking size, reducing latency, and cheap deployment are the things that businesses really want and need today.
We are actively exploring how we can apply our search and LLM expertise in these environments, and will provide updates on the future of our work and our team in the coming weeks.”
Snowflake acquires Neeva
It didn’t take long to find this new direction, as four days later, on May 24, 2023, Snowflake announced that they were acquiring Neeva.
Snowflake, an enterprise data cloud company that intends to leverage Neeva’s search and conversational AI technology into its product offerings.
The takeover announcement said:
“Search is central to how businesses interact with data, and the search experience is rapidly evolving with new conversational paradigms emerging in the way we ask questions and retrieve information, enabled by generative AI.
The ability of teams to accurately discover the right data point, data asset or data insight is critical to maximizing the value of data.
That’s why Snowflake is acquiring Neeva, a search company founded to make search even smarter at scale.
Neeva created a unique and transformative search experience that leverages generative AI and other innovations to enable users to query and discover data in new ways.”
Snowflake didn’t specify what new services they will offer, but combining AI and LLM capabilities with data is a natural fit that can enable companies to leverage their data in new ways.
Read Snowflake’s official announcement:
Snowflake acquires Neeva to accelerate data cloud search using generative AI
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