Neeva eyes future London growth as part of wider European expansion
Neeva founder and former Google ads boss Sridhar Ramaswamy has endorsed London as a world class place for tech innovation as he rolls out his AI-powered startup across Europe.
Speaking with City A.M., the former Silicon Valley exec turned search-engine startup founder said being in places like London is “top of mind” for Neeva as it continues to grow.
“The UK government has done a really good job of encouraging tech innovation so far”, said Ramaswamy. “DeepMind is as world class as it gets”.
These comments come as the California-based company continues expansion of its NeevaAI product which became available to all users in the UK and Canada on Monday, following a successful US launch last December.
Local language versions were also introduced in other countries including Germany, France and Spain.
NeevaAI is different from competitors like ChatGPT because it provides “fluid, believable answers” based on ‘real time’ and which, crucially, are citation-backed.
This means the search engine always gives users the most current information and is able to differentiate between sources, reporting and citing the ones that are most “useful and authoritative”.
Ramaswamy argues Neeva is more successful than its rivals because it “constrains the generation to the context of the documents that return”, meaning it is not susceptible to so-called AI ‘hallucinations’ that sometimes occur in models which allow missing text prediction.
It should be noted this still does not guarantee absolute trustworthiness though, because an AI search engine is “only as good as the underlying web”, explains Ramaswamy.
The tech entrepreneur is also excited about an upcoming project in the Neeva pipeline, which will allow it to work directly with publishers by generating ‘site-specific AI’.
Unlike a standard search engine, the model could be embedded to only show content from one site, which Neeva believes will help build deeper customer engagement and retain users.
Ramaswamy founded ad-free search engine Neeva in 2019, a platform which doesn’t track users or sell their data to third-parties, after he became disillusioned with the “unsustainable” quantities of online advertising in the mid-2010s.
He predicts that, whilst the decline in advertising may continue, it is unlikely it will stop altogether.
Neeva launched in the UK last October and at the time Ramaswamy told City A.M. that watchdogs should concentrate on expanding consumer options as well as on creating and maintaining open space for innovation and startups to blossom.
He stands by the mantra that “monopolies stifle innovation”. This might strike a chord in the UK which is striving for a large scale up of start-ups as it pushes its pro-innovation agenda forward to build a Silicon Valley of its own.
Neeva operates as a ‘freemium’ model, meaning users can access basic services for free, or pay to upgrade for additional services.