Jina AI Raises $US30M for Neural Search platform

Jina AI, an open-source neural search company based in Berlin, has announced $US30 million in Series funding. All of Jina AI's investors are betting on the future of search being built on neural networks. The company, only founded in February 2020, has already raised $US39 million in total.

"Traditional search systems built for textual data don't work in a world brimming with images, video, and other multimedia. Jina AI is moving companies from black and white into colour, unlocking unstructured data in a way that's fast, scalable, and data-agnostic," said Joydeep Bhattacharyya, general partner at investor firm Canaan.

"The early applications of its open-source framework already show glimmers of the future, with neural search underpinning opportunities to improve decision-making, refine operations and even create new revenue streams."

Coined "neural search," businesses to build search solutions that leverage actionable insights from unstructured data to make more effective business decisions. With Jina AI's core project, Jina, which is being built in the open on GitHub, users can create a cloud-native neural search solution powered by deep learning in a matter of hours, which is well-suited to business environments that require a fast and lightweight development cycle.

The company recently released another product called Finetuner, which lets users tune a neural search system to their enterprise's unique needs.

Today, Jina AI has a developer community over 1,000 strong and has seen widespread adoption of its Jina framework, enabling neural search applications for use cases as diverse as 3D assets for gaming content production, images on e-commerce sites and a Q&A chatbot that understands hybrid queries.

Interestingly, many applications built on top of Jina do not have (or need) a classic search box. For example:

One fast-growing video game developer embeds Jina in the right-click menu of their 3D game editor, helping game developers auto-fill game assets for the current scene. 

Another European legal-tech startup uses Jina to enable a question-answering experience on their millions of PDF documents, enabling them to pinpoint the crucial facts and terms via chatbot.

"In just a few years, neural search will become such a fundamental technology that all software will require it. It will be as common as the "find and replace" feature in today's software," said Dr. Han Xiao, founder and CEO of Jina AI.

"We're helping developers and businesses to get ready ahead of the curve. The most exciting part of neural search is that it creates new ways to comprehend the world, and opens doors to new businesses."

The new funding will be used to continue research and development on new product categories in building Jina's neural search ecosystem, and to ensure the best user experience in production for Jina AI.

The company also plans to double its team by the end of 2022 by setting roots in North America early next year and hiring remote workers to build a global, high-performing team. Xiao believes this focus will enable Jina AI to stay competitive in the open-source domain.

"Open source knows no boundaries; talent knows no boundaries. It is absolutely crucial to have the best people and speed things up," said Xiao. "We have a lot of exciting products in the pipeline."