Snowflake acquires Neeva to add intelligent search to its cloud data management solution

Snowflake is all about managing data in the cloud, whether it’s a structured data warehouse or a less structured data lake. Neeva, a search startup from two former Google employees, is all about search and works on both consumer and business offerings. Earlier this week, it announced it was ceasing consumer searches to focus on the venture.

Snowflake announced today that it is buying the startup. The companies have not disclosed the terms of the deal.

Rumors had been circulating lately that Snowflake was interested in Neeva before the two companies made it official this afternoon in a blog post on the Snowflake website. Benoit Dageville, co-founder of the company and VP of products, explained why he thinks the companies are such a good fit.

“The ability for teams to discover just the right data point, data item, or data insight is critical to maximizing the value of data,” Dageville wrote in the blog post.

He pointed out that Neeva’s ability to use generative AI in search was one of the things that drew Snowflake to the search startup. “That’s why Snowflake is acquiring Neeva, a search company founded to make search even more intelligent at scale,” he wrote. Generative AI search allows users to ask questions and interact with search, fundamentally changing the way people search.

The company was even working on a standalone generative AI search app called Gist when it shut down. In a blog post announcing that the company was ending its consumer search, the founders pointed out that it had technology it could use for corporate products and that was what it would focus on going forward.

“Many of the techniques we pioneered with small models, size reduction, latency reduction, and low-cost deployment are the elements that businesses really want and need today. We are actively exploring how to apply our search and LLM expertise in these environments, and will provide updates on the future of our work and team in the coming weeks,” the founders wrote in their blog.

But it turned out it was a farewell blog post as a standalone company, and it would do that work on enterprise search as part of Snowflake. Neeva had a lot going for it when it launched in hopes of delivering an ad-free search tool that solved the privacy issues inherent in most consumer search tools. The two founders cut their teeth at Google for years and brought that experience to the startup. According to Crunchbase, they’ve raised more than $77 million since the company’s inception in 2019. The most recent $40 million round came in just over two years ago. Investors included Sequoia and Greylock.

Now, as part of Snowflake, the founders bring a wealth of experience to the company to help build AI search solutions on top of the cloud data management solution. The dream of building a Google competitor may have vanished with the end of the consumer search engine, but the technology could live on in future Snowflake search solutions.

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