Ness Computing, a stealth startup that’s developing a unique new personalized search service, announced late Tuesday that it has raised $5 million in a Series A round of financing led by Vinod Khosla and Ramy Adeeb of Khosla Ventures, with participation from Alsop Louie Partners, TomorrowVentures, Bullpen Capital, a co-founder of Palantir Technologies and several angel investors.
Ness Computing has been in stealth mode since it was co-founded in 2009 by Corey Reese, formerly a VC for Alsop Louie Partners, where he initiated investments in Justin.tv and Gowalla. Reese co-founded the company with Nikhil Raghavan, a founding member of Yahoo's Structured Web Search team, Paul Twohey, a software engineer who worked on geospatial search at Palantir, and Steven Schlansker, a hackathon winner and top programmer out of UC Berkeley.
The company’s first product, the Ness personal search engine, will operate by learning the likes and dislikes of the person using it, allowing users to get search results that are specifically tailored to their personal tastes. For example, you might search for the “best restaurants in San Francisco,” but if you’re partial to steakhouses and burger joints, you can expect to get search results structured around those preferences.
The Ness search engine is built on top of the company’s “Likeness Engine,” which combines social group data mining with machine learning to produce a search engine/data recommendation service.
"I'm inspired by Ness because their engineering culture reminds me of Palantir,” said Palantir Technologies co-founder Joe Lonsdale. "They've attracted many of the best computer scientists in Silicon Valley to enable powerful data-driven insights, focused on consumers instead of government and enterprise customers."
Indeed, the company has a cohort of Ph.D.s who specialize in machine learning, including Dr. Jeremy Schiff, former President and Co-Founder of Fotoflexer, and Scott Goodson, a senior engineer and original member of Apple's iOS team, who now serves as the company's Director of Mobile Engineering.
The company was previously seed funded and incubated by Alsop Louie Partners.