Built by a team of ex-Google technologists and AI scientists, Vectara operationalizes large language models to deliver intent-based search results that radically outperform keyword-based systems
SANTA CLARA, Calif., Oct. 12, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Vectara, the operating platform for neural network technology, today launched its first product, neural search as a service, that leverages large language models to understand the intent behind user queries and bring meaning to search. Available in two editions; Growth provides a generous free tier, and Scale includes a complete set of enterprise features. Vectara makes neural network technology immediately accessible to developers, even without any machine learning expertise. The company, led by CEO Amr Awadallah and a team of former Google executives and computer scientists, also announced $20 million in seed funding. Funding partners include tech and search pioneers from companies, including Slack and Google, alongside leading technology venture funds.
Vectara’s platform aims to become the leading engine for unlocking insights and value from the volumes of untapped data held by most modern organizations. To achieve this vision, Vectara developed zero-shot AI models that leverage the power of deep learning neural networks to analyze unstructured data without requiring additional training. The platform provides API access to the most advanced NLP and AI capabilities in minutes, empowering developers to quickly integrate the platform into their stacks and augment site and app search, product discovery, customer support, user navigation, and more.
Vectara is launching with search because it is the dominant way people navigate applications and sites to access knowledge today. However, organizations often struggle to implement search into their applications as it requires a significant time investment to operationalize while leaving relevant information undiscovered. Vectara replaces these outdated approaches with a composable, ML-based search pipeline that recognizes searchers’ intent and radically increases search relevance. Vectara’s ability to innately understand human language means that the platform sees through incorrect terminology, acronyms, or misspellings without any predefined language configuration or developer tuning. Because Vectara applies native neural search, it is human-language agnostic; it can even conduct cross-language searches, surfacing information in one language from content written in another without translation.
“We started Vectara because we saw an opportunity for neural networks to revolutionize how people find meaning through data,” said Amr Awadallah, Vectara’s Chief Executive Officer. “Until recently, though, only the largest organizations with deep ML expertise could access this breakthrough technology. With our API-first neural search, developers and engineers can immediately start applying NLP to the challenges they face every day. I have no doubt that the future of search is unequivocally neural search.”
Vectara is led by a team of former Google executives, engineers, and entrepreneurs that bring decades of experience leading the world’s most advanced search teams. CEO Amr Awadallah is joined by Co-Founders Amin Ahmad and Tallat Shafaat as Chief Technology Officer and Chief Architect, respectively, and supported by a team with experience at companies including Cloudera, Elastic, Splunk, MongoDB, and Hazelcast. They are backed by top-tier investors from leading VC firms, including Vertex Ventures, GTM Capital, Top Harvest Capital, Transform VC, Essence VC, Green Sand Equity, and Feld Ventures, and senior executives from companies such as WhatsApp, Google, Meta, Palantir, Stitch Fix, Slack, and Cloudera, who see the potential of operationalizing this NLP technology across industries and expanding to use cases like content classification, recommendations, and text analysis. Seed funding will support the launch of Vectara’s initial products and the growth of its operating team.
“Most people rely on search to navigate websites and applications, including our product, but the underlying technology has not significantly evolved in decades,” said Slack Technologies CEO and Vectara investor Stewart Butterfield. “By applying cutting-edge neural networks, Vectara is bringing much-needed innovation to the challenge of improving product search.”
Investor, entrepreneur, and Google VP of Product Bradley Horowitz added, “We’re at a truly historical moment where the full potential of NLP has reached the level of science-fiction. Vectara is the first platform that harnesses this transformative power and makes it practical and useful, empowering developers everywhere with the most advanced AI available. I can’t wait to see the wave of innovation and utility that Vectara will unleash.”
“Search is the backbone of any app or website. It’s how we find the information we need to do what we do, and it’s an integral part of our daily lives. But the traditional search algorithm has some major flaws and has been in dire need of disruption for quite some time,” said Shane Feldberg, Founder and General Partner of Feld Ventures. “Vectara’s neural search is the future of how people will interact with content. They are solving a major problem, the founders are incredibly well suited for the task, and their early customer feedback is very promising.”
Starting today, Vectara’s turnkey neural search platform is available to users everywhere, with zero language configuration or tuning requirements. Customers get an end-to-end search pipeline with market-leading search relevance, available on a tiered pricing model. The free version, Growth, offers users up to 15,000 queries per month, while Scale provides a complete search pipeline capable of running on the largest websites in the world.
Vectara is the operating platform for applying and operationalizing neural networks and natural language processing technology. The company offers a generally available, 100% neural search as a service that enables customers to understand the intent and meaning behind user questions and radically increases search relevance compared to keyword-based algorithms. Vectara’s APIs can be implemented by a wide skill set of developers to easily build search within their sites and applications. Vectara was founded by experienced search technologists Amr Awadallah, Amin Ahmad, and Tallat Shafaat.
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