Marqo secures $5.2m to bring continuous-learning vector search to businesses
Marqo, the startup enabling AI-powered search and discovery, has closed $5.2 million in seed investment. The investment, led by Blackbird Ventures, also includes the support of Creator Fund, January Capital, and Cohere's co-founders, Ivan Zhang and Aidan Gomez. The funds will be used to develop a new form of vector search technology that continuously improves based on user engagement, which differentiates it from existing vector databases.
Marqo was founded by Jesse Clark, formerly Lead Scientist at Amazon Robotics AI and Principal Scientist at StitchFix and physicist at Stanford and UCL, and Tom Hamer, a former Amazon Web Services (AWS) software engineer. The team has since brought in AI, engineering, and operations expertise from Amazon, Uber and Goldman Sachs.
Unlike traditional keyword search, Marqo uses machine learning models to return more accurate search results by understanding content and meaning. Users can search using text, images, or a combination of both. The technology initially targets end-user search (ecommerce, marketplaces) but has applications in generative AI, analytics and security. The new service, currently in closed beta, allows the machine learning models to automatically learn from user engagement and continuously improve the relevance of the vectors.
Tom Hamer, Co-founder, Marqo: "Search is in desperate need of modernisation - the vast majority of search experiences are based on legacy keyword search systems, which provide poor results. Customers want search experiences that anticipate their needs, not just match keywords. This is especially important for businesses where the search bar is the core product, such as ecommerce. By automatically improving based on user interaction, Marqo provides highly relevant results, and increases customer conversion rate, order value, and revenue."
Marqo's mission is to democratise AI technology allowing transformative search experiences to be built with ease.
Jesse Clark, Co-founder, Marqo: "Despite many advantages, vector search remains challenging to implement especially for applications requiring real-time search. Vector search is rapidly becoming a must have for generative AI applications. We want anyone to be able to leverage the latest machine learning models, even if they're not an expert in this field."
Aidan Gomez, CEO and Co-founder, Cohere: "Vector search is a huge growth area. In addition to being at the core of AI search and recommendation systems - vector search has become a must have component of generative AI. Marqo is instrumental in making AI useful to businesses by enabling developers to use the best technology with little effort."
Marqo's belief in democratising AI technology fuels its decision to open-source the core Marqo code, meaning it is free and available for anyone to use. For customers who want a solution that is optimised for production without any operational overheads, Marqo offers a fully managed, serverless Cloud Service. Following a highly successful early access program the Cloud Service is now open to the public, allowing anyone to sign up and start using Marqo in a few clicks. The continuous-learning vector search service is expected to be released later this year as a part of Marqo Cloud.
Nick Crocker, Partner, Blackbird: "There is over 100 trillion gigabytes of data in the world, the majority of which is unstructured data such as text, images or video. With generative AI creating more content than ever before people, computers and companies need new ways to search. Marqo represents the next generation of search - hyper-relevant, AI-powered and based on human understanding. We are thrilled to be supporting this team!"