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The deal, announced during the Snowflake quarter earnings reportit should enhance Snowflake’s ability to deliver intelligent, conversational search experiences to its customers who use its platform to store, analyze and share data.
“Interacting with data through natural language is becoming popular with advances in artificial intelligence,” Snowflake president and CEO Frank Slootman said during a company earnings call.
“This will enable Snowflake users and application developers to create rich conversational and search-enabled experiences,” he added, “and we believe Neeva will increase our opportunity to enable non-technical users to extract value from their data, in broader way”.
Neeva discontinues her consumer research
Founded in 2019 by Sridhar Ramaswamy and Vivek Raghunathan, who both worked at Google’s ad technology division, Neeva raised $77.5 million in funding before being acquired by Snowflake. Investors included Greylock Partners, Sequoia Capital and Ram Shriram, a board member of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.
Neeva initially aimed to create a subscription-based search engine that would respect user privacy and show no ads. In January, Ramaswamy wrote a guest post on VentureBeat describing how Neeva wanted to challenge Google’s monopoly on search and offer a better alternative to consumers. It’s an effort that ultimately didn’t work out.
Last week, Neeva announced it was closing its consumer research product and focusing on the business use cases of large language models (LLM) and generative AI.
Neeva brings a conversational interface to Snowflake
Christian Kleinerman, SVP of product at Snowflake, said on the earnings call that Neeva’s technology will help bring a new type of experience to Snowflake users.
Kleinerman said Snowflake is on a mission to extend its capabilities by bringing compute closer to data. Snowflake has evolved into an application platform over the years, and a key use case for applications is for search-enabled experiences. He noted that generative AI brings with it the notion of conversational experiences, which is where Neeva’s technology will fit.
“The people at Neeva are the ones with the power to help us accelerate efforts around Snowflake as a platform for research and conversational experiences,” Kleinerman said. “But mostly within Snowflake’s security perimeter, with customer data so they can take advantage of all these new innovations and technologies, but with security, privacy and data protection.”
Snowflake’s point of view on artificial intelligence
The acquisition of Neeva will fit into Snowflake’s strategy to help organizations take advantage of LLMs and the power of generative AI.
“Generative AI as a style of interaction has captured the imagination of society at large and will bring disruption, productivity and obsolescence to tasks and entire industries alike,” Slootman said.
Snowflake’s position is that generative AI requires data, which is what Snowflake has always focused on. Slootman noted that many AI models have been trained with the Internet or public data, and he believes companies will benefit from personalizing AI with their own data.
The Neeva acquisition isn’t the first AI vendor Snowflake has acquired. In August 2022, Snowflake acquires Applicaa startup that was building technology to help organizations use artificial intelligence to gain insights from data.
“Snowflake’s mission is to constantly demolish any limits on data user workloads and applications,” said Slootman. “New forms of AI will therefore continue to see us evolve and expand our functions and feature sets.”
Snowflake reported revenue for the quarter was $623.6 million, representing 48% year-over-year growth. However, the company provided second-quarter product revenue guidance that missed consensus estimates. Shares of Snowflake fell 12% in after-hours trading following the earnings report.
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