Pinecone raises $28 million to revolutionize unstructured data search with AI

Serverless vector database startup Pinecone Systems Inc. is repositioning itself as a provider of search infrastructure technology, after announcing the closing of $28 million in seed funding today.

Today’s Series A round was led by Menlo Ventures and included participation from new investor Tiger Global and former backers such as Wing Venture Capital, which led the $10 million seed funding round. dollars from Pinecone last year.

Pinecone believes that in the last year it has become the leader of a whole new generation of search technology, having seen thousands of developers adopt its service. The company has created an advanced vector database that it claims can dynamically transform and index billions of high-dimensional vectors to answer queries such as nearest neighbor search both quickly and with pinpoint accuracy. . Thanks to its serverless nature, customers do not have to worry about IT resource management or maintenance.

Pinecone’s database is modeled after internal systems used by companies such as Inc. and Meta Platforms Inc. for vector research. He thinks his platform is perfectly suited to support search in multiple applications.

Edo Liberty (pictured), the company’s founder and CEO, said search technology has so far been mainly keyword-based. He argues that this is ineffective for the needs of many people today. The problem, he said, is that traditional keyword-based research struggles when searching through complex data such as unstructured text, user profiles and images. Yet this type of data is growing rapidly, and so are customer expectations. There is therefore a need to modernize enterprise search systems, he believes.

“Users today expect more,” Liberty said. “They want search results that anticipate and understand their needs, not just those that match keywords.”

Pinecone’s Vector Database enables a whole new way to search through data. Indeed, it focuses on storing and searching in AI-generated representations of unstructured data that encapsulate the meaning of the original content in a machine-readable format.

It’s much easier for systems to find this information when someone does a keyword search. It supports dozens of search types including semantic text search, image retrieval and more. Therefore, according to Pinecone, its vector database can provide companies with a comprehensive infrastructure for AI-based research.

Andy Thurai of Constellation Research Inc. said companies have long struggled to search for unstructured data such as images, audio files and PDFs and that AI has the potential to solve this problem. He believes that with the emergence of companies such as Pinecone, a new standard is emerging that allows companies to search their unstructured data more efficiently.

“Any unstructured data, such as an image, can be vectorized as an array of numbers or an AI-generated representation of that image,” the analyst explained. “Then a vector search can be performed against a vector database which stores this information and returns either the best search results of the match or returns all results above a certain threshold.”

Thurai said there are several possible use cases, such as finding an image or voice string match, or facial recognition. “This may open up the possibility for businesses to finally be able to search for the unstructured data that most are just collecting and storing at this stage,” he added.

Liberty said his company is essentially changing the way companies interact with their unstructured data, and suggested that those who don’t react quickly enough could find themselves left behind. “The importance of vectors in research applications in the future cannot be overstated, and Pinecone has removed the enormous infrastructural barrier that has prevented many companies from benefiting from them until now,” he said. declared.

Liberty managed to convince extremely bright minds of his vision. Following today’s funding round, Menlo Ventures partner Tim Tully, former Chief Technology Officer at Splunk Inc., will join Pinecone’s Board of Directors. Other recent additions include former Snowflake Inc. and Couchbase Inc. CEOs Bob Muglia and Bob Widerhold, who joined as investors and advisors, as well as former vice president of engineering for Splunk, Ram Sriharsha, who took on the same role at Pinecone.

“Many of the biggest companies in the world have already embraced the use of vector search, which has given them a distinct advantage over their competition,” Tully said. “Pinecone ensures that, regardless of size and budget, enterprises can integrate next-generation search functionality into their applications and move into production without having to develop and maintain an entirely new architecture.”

Pinecone said it will use its new funding to grow its product, customer success, and research and development teams and invest in basic research in machine learning, information retrieval, and natural language processing.

Image: Pine cone systems

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