Objective emerges from stealth to deliver multimodal search to developers as an API platform

Objective (previously named Kailua Labs), a multimodal search platform built by machine learning experts from Apple, Google, Meta, Amazon and Twilio, emerged from stealth today with $13 million in venture funding.

Objective is a low-code platform that allows developers to build multisearch apps that handle input and output in multiple formats — text, images, video and audio. Unlike traditional keyword-based search algorithms, Objective’s in-house technology produces contextually relevant results, allowing users to search using natural language or even a combination of data like simultaneously entering image and text queries. As users interact and search different terms, the system further learns how to optimize for the types of user behavior that it sees.

Multimodal search has been a topic of conversation among technology companies for years. In the same way that OpenAI’s ChatGPT-4 has brought generative AI to the mainstream, tech giants Google and Microsoft are influencing more and more companies to invest in multimodal large language models in order to improve the search and discovery experience.

Objective aims to be the go-to affordable solution for all developers to have multimodal search in their toolkits.

“The way the systems are built is super difficult,” co-founder and CEO Pablo Mendes said during our interview. “Every top 1% most sophisticated company is working on that. We have this hypothesis that most companies in the world would prefer to buy a solution rather than try to build a team in-house… We’re building a platform to make it easy and level the playing field.”

Objective was co-founded by three ex-Apple employees — Mendes, Joachim Daiber and Lance Hasson — who worked in the AI machine learning division and were responsible for general knowledge queries for Siri.

“We saw this huge movement happening around machine learning,” Mendes added. “We knew that this was going to change the way that everybody will approach search.”

Objective has raised $13 million across multiple funding rounds. It’s backed by Matrix Partners, Two Sigma Ventures and angel investors such as Topsy co-founder Vipul Ved Prakash, Lattice co-founder Mike Cafarella and former director at Airbnb Georg Bauser, among others.

“Here’s a team who’ve built search for iOS, YouTube – some of the most loved products in history – and every developer in the world can leverage their experience with just a few lines of code,” said Patrick Malatack, partner at Matrix, in a statement.

Nearly a dozen launch partners are using Objective Search, including food distribution company Pod Foods, digital designer’s platform Dribbble and major news publication The Information.

“You can only do so much with manual tagging and scrubbing of results,” said Zack Onisko, CEO of Dribbble. “Implementing semantic search in-house was taking very long. We saw a demo of Objective Search and it was night and day! This partnership will significantly accelerate our data science roadmap.”

Developers can schedule a demo with Objective today. Pricing depends on the company size, how much data they have and how many queries they get, among other factors.

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