An Israeli startup is wiggling into the search engine game, but the company it’s most likely to compete with isn’t Google — it’s Amazon.
VentureBeat reports that Twiggle, founded in 2013, announced yesterday (April 7) a $12.5 million Series A funding round led by South African Internet company Naspers, with participation by several other investors.
The outlet posits that Amazon — and not consumer-facing search engines, like Google — is the company likely to face competition from the emerging startup because Twiggle’s technology, which incorporates artificial intelligence and machine-learning techniques, is geared towards eCommerce search capabilities.
In fact, VentureBeat draws a comparison between Twiggle and A9, a search and advertising technology company that Amazon created in 2003. While the eCommerce giant relies upon A9 (which remains a subsidiary of Amazon) to power search capabilities within its numerous offerings, the VentureBeat story notes that Amazon has also made the technology available to third-party online retailers, and those are the prime candidates to whom Twiggle can present itself as an alternative to Amazon’s own tech.
If there’s a differentiating factor between Twiggle and A9, the outlet suggests that it is Twiggle’s apparent focus less on facilitating the search needs of paying customers on an eCommerce site and more on — in its leveraging of search keywords to prioritize relevant results — converting browsers into buyers.
“Search is an incredibly complicated medium, and this complexity has led to a situation of incremental growth and sub-standard optimization,” Dr. Amir Konigsberg, one of the founders of Twiggle and its CEO, commented to VentureBeat. “Twiggle is infusing search with an entirely new approach that will allow digital commerce giants to redefine the shopper’s experience, increasing revenues and enabling digital commerce to reach its full potential.”
“Naspers has always believed in working closely with the companies we invest in to help them maximize their potential,” Larry Illg, CEO at Naspers Ventures, also commented to VentureBeat. “Twiggle is setting a new industry standard for eCommerce search and discovery, redefining the sector with a search platform that will bring unparalleled precision and accuracy.”