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A Snowflake deal to acquire Neeva seems imminent after the Mountain View, CA-based search startup, once seen as a promising AI-driven challenger to Google’s search dominance, announced on Saturday it will shut down its consumer search product to focus on enterprise use cases of LLMs and search.
Neeva’s announcement came just a few days after reporting from The Information that said the Montana-based Snowflake had signed a letter of intent to acquire Neeva in order to offer AI software services to enterprise customers. Snowflake’s stock jumped with the news, which was notably in advance of Snowflake scheduled Q1 financial results announcements this Wednesday.
A Snowflake spokesperson declined to comment, while Neeva representatives did not respond to outreach from VentureBeat.
Neeva exploring enterprise LLM use cases
Neeva was co-founded in 2019 by former senior Google advertising tech executives, including former Google SVP of ads and commerce Sridhar Ramaswamy. Most recently, Neeva had touted its AI-powered search engine’s ability to cite its sources.
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In a blog post announcing the shutdown of the consumer search product, Ramaswamy and co-founder Vivek Raghunathan said: “Over the past year, we’ve seen the clear, pressing need to use LLMs effectively, inexpensively, safely, and responsibly. 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.”
Many AI companies are shifting focus towards the enterprise
Many tech leaders are looking to the valuable opportunities of enterprise LLMs. OpenAI has talked about its work to offer customizations for enterprises, while Anthropic recently partnered with Scale AI to “bring generative AI to enterprises.” Stability AI has said it wants to build custom models for the largest companies and governments, while Cohere’s LLMs are entirely geared towards the enterprise.
Experts, including EY global chief technology officer, Nicola Morini Bianzino, have been saying for months that the “killer use case” of generative AI could be enterprise knowledge management.
“Knowledge companies tend to store knowledge in a very flat, two-dimensional way that makes it difficult to access, interact and have a dialogue with,” he told VentureBeat in January. “We tried 20, 30, 40 years ago to build expert systems. That didn’t go really well because they were too rigid. I think this technology promises to overcome a lot of issues that expert systems have.”
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