Nokia’s HERE buys VC-backed travel guide app Desti

HERE, which is owned by Nokia, has acquired travel planning app Desti. No financial terms were disclosed. Headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif., Desti was spun out of SRI International in 2011. It was also backed by Horizons Ventures and Carmel Ventures.

PRESS RELEASE

Menlo Park, Calif. – May 30, 2014 – SRI International today announced the acquisition of Desti, an SRI spin-off venture, by HERE, a Nokia company, for an undisclosed amount. Desti is the first smart travel planner to help users find exactly what they’re looking for by using artificial intelligence (AI) to sift through thousands of places, find the best matches and explain the relevance. Desti helps find accommodations, attractions, activities and dining spots by considering the context of each request and matching smartly against specific queries.
“Desti is a significant achievement in the use of natural language understanding and machine learning to meet the needs of travelers. It demonstrates SRI’s ongoing innovation and leadership in AI,” said Norman Winarsky, Ph.D., vice president, SRI Ventures. “HERE’s acquisition of Desti will bring personalized travel recommendations to even more users.”
“The use of natural language technology to turn textual content into searchable, actionable knowledge is changing vertical search,” said Nadav Gur, CEO and founder of Desti. “Desti users have planned hundreds of thousands of trips just by asking for what they want. Our smart approach to understanding users and places offers an experience that soon everyone will expect from their search services.”
Desti technology is based on AI pioneered in SRI’s Artificial Intelligence Center. It follows three other SRI spin-off ventures: Siri, the first virtual personal assistant (VPA), which was acquired by Apple in 2010; Trapit, a content discovery and user engagement company; and Tempo AI, a mobile productivity app featuring a smart calendar to help organize tasks.
Desti was spun out of SRI in 2011. Additional investors include Horizons Ventures and Carmel Ventures.
SRI Ventures has created and launched more than 60 ventures, with a total market capitalization of almost $20 billion. It is responsible for creating ventures that meet major market needs with breakthrough technology-based solutions.
About HERE
HERE, a Nokia company, is a leader in mapping and location intelligence. We combine highly accurate and fresh maps with cloud technology to enable rich, real-time location experiences in a broad range of connected devices – from smartphones and tablets to wearables and vehicles. To learn more about HERE, including our work in the areas of connected and autonomous driving, visit http://360.here.com.

 

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