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

Snowflake is all about managing data in the cloud, whether as part of a structured data warehouse, or less structured data lake. Neeva, a search startup from two former Google employees, has been all about search, working on both a consumer and enterprise offering. Earlier this week, it announced that it was walking away from consumer search to concentrate on the enterprise.

Today, Snowflake announced it was buying the startup. The companies did not reveal the terms of the deal.

Rumors had been swirling recently that Snowflake was interested in Neeva before the two companies made it official in a blog post on the Snowflake website this afternoon. Benoit Dageville, the company co-founder and president of products, explained why he thinks that the companies fit together so well.

“The ability for teams to discover precisely the right data point, data asset 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 leverage generative AI in search was one of 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. With generative AI searches, users can ask questions and interact with the search tool, changing the way people search in fundamental ways.

In fact, the company had been working on a standalone generative AI search app called Gist when it shut down. In a blog post announcing that the company was shutting down the consumer search, the founders pointed out that it had technology it could put to work on enterprise products and that was where it would be concentrating going forward.

“Many of the techniques we have pioneered with small models, size reduction, latency reduction, and inexpensive deployment are the elements that enterprises really want, and need, today. We are actively exploring how we can apply our search and LLM expertise in these settings, and we will provide updates on the future of our work and our team in the next few weeks,” the founders wrote in their blog.

But it turned out that 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 with the hope of delivering an ad-free search tool that solved the privacy issues inherent in most consumer search tools. The two founders spent years cutting their teeth at Google, and brought that experience to the startup. They raised over $77 million since founding the company in 2019, per Crunchbase. The most recent $40 million round came 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 died with the end of the consumer search tool, but the tech could live on in future Snowflake search solutions.