California-based start-up Ness Computing has completed a $15 million round of Series B funding led by SingTel Innov8 and including participation from American Express Ventures. Ness Computing is a personal search engine business which uses advanced machine learning techniques to recognize patterns in large-scale sets of data.
Ness Computing, a California-based startup that is making search personal, today announced the completion of a $15M round of Series B funding led by SingTel Innov8, and including participation from American Express Ventures. The investment supports Ness’ continued development of its search technology, a “Likeness Engine” that curates personalized recommendations based on people’s tastes and preferences.
The company also announced an update with robust new features to their first product the Ness Dining Guide, a restaurant search and discovery iPhone app. Ness’ personal “Likeness Score” predicts how much a customer will like a restaurant based on their unique preferences, making it easier to find a place they’ll enjoy. The latest release adds restaurant reservations via OpenTable, as well as hundreds of thousands of menus including prices.
With this round of funding, Ness will incorporate additional user preference signals from new social platforms into its technology, and will expand to new verticals by applying its “Likeness Engine to personal search and discovery for nightlife, events, movies, shopping and more. The company will also continue to build its team of top engineers and computer scientists in systems and interface engineering and machine learning.
Ness’ technology learns an individual’s taste preferences and combines this with signals from their social networks — including Facebook, Foursquare and Instagram — to deliver personalized recommendations. Launched in August 2011 with $5M in funding, Ness users have already generated over 3 million ratings, and the app includes more than 5 million Instagram images for restaurants.
“We want to help people experience more of what they love by understanding why they love the things they do,” said Corey Reese, Co-Founder and CEO of Ness. “By enhancing our core technology, we can improve our understanding of what customers are expressing about themselves, and turn that information into something truly valuable for making decisions.”
“Ness Computing is developing a platform at the intersection of social, local, and mobile data and paving the way to transform mobile discovery with personalized recommendations,” said Managing Director of SingTel Innov8, Jeff Karras. “We are thrilled to be working with the talented and passionate team at Ness.”
“American Express is impressed by Ness’ vision to create great products that better serve consumers,” said Harshul Sanghi, Managing Partner, American Express Ventures. “As Ness evolves and the commerce landscape changes, we believe their preference-based search engine has the potential to deliver differentiated value to merchants and consumers alike.”
In July 2011, Ness announced a $5M Series A round of financing led by Vinod Khosla and Ramy Adeeb of Khosla Ventures with participation from Alsop Louie Partners (the original seed investor in the company), TomorrowVentures, Bullpen Capital, a co-founder of Palantir Technologies, and several angel investors. An affiliate of the LeFrak Organization also participated in the most recent round.
About Ness Computing
Ness Computing’s mission is to make search personal by using advanced machine learning techniques to recognize patterns in large-scale sets of data. The company’s first product, the Ness Dining Guide, is a personal search engine for restaurants. Powered by a “Likeness Engine” that combines social graph data and machine learning, Ness’ recommendations reflect an individual’s unique tastes and preferences. Ness Computing’s team has expertise in information retrieval, applied machine learning, natural language processing, collaborative filtering, and user interface engineering. The company is based in Silicon Valley.
About SingTel Innov8
SingTel Innov8, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the SingTel Group, is a corporate venture capital fund, with its own set of decision making, approval and funding processes. It has an initial fund size of S$200 million. SingTel Innov8 focuses its investments on technologies and solutions that lead to quantum changes in network capabilities, next generation devices, digital content services and enablers to enhance customer experience. It works closely with the ecosystem of leading innovators, developers, government agencies, R&D and capital providers to bring cutting-edge technologies and solutions to the various markets the SingTel Group operates in.
SOURCE Ness Computing