SemantiNet, a semantic search technology startup based in Israel, raised a round of $1.7 million led by Giza Venture Capital. Israeli angel and internet guru Yossi Vardi is listed among Semantinet’s previous investors along with Sir Ronald Cohen (founder of Apax Partners), Robert Imershein, Moudi Ben-Shachand and Jeff Pulver.
There’s not much known about Semantinet’s technology. A blog post reports that the company development is based on unique patent based programming paradigm, hardcore web technologies like Silverlight, Ajax and Linq, and a unique scrum & agile development methodology.Semantinet was co-founded in 2006 by Tal Muskal (CTO), formerly of Go Networks and Tal Keinan, alumni of IDF’s MAMRAM unit, known for being a ‘factory’ of tech entrepreneurs. Prior to starting Semantinet, Keinan worked at Morgan Stanley’s Risk Management Department, where he was in charge of the bank’s Scenario Analysis product.
Semantinet is based in Tel Aviv, Israel and currently has a team of twelve. According to an article in TheMarker (Hebrew) dating back to March, CTO Tal Muskal was the one who first approached Yossi Vardi with an idea and a basic prototype: a semantic framework solution that allows for rapid deployment of web-mashups, applications and services. Vardi decided to invest almost immediately.Though Semantinet remains in stealth mode, you can learn about its vision on the company’s website:
Our vision at SemantiNet is to make life easy again by allowing our users to take advantage of the variety and richness of information and services that exist on the Internet, but in a way that is simple, smart and intuitive. For this end, we are leveraging semantic web concepts to seamlessly integrate information and services so that you will be able to achieve more while working less!
Semantic search has been around for a few years, and has recently been gaining popularity, at least amongst the VC investors who are banking on the fact that there’s no clear winner in the space yet. Most recently, you might have heard of Twine, a semantic information sharing platform being developed by Radar Networks. There’s also Powerset, a semantic search engine still in private beta, that didn’t quite meet the expectations in 2007. Want more? There’s AskWiki, which calls itself a “preliminary integration of a semantic search engine that seeks to provide specific answers to questions using information from Wikipedia articles”, and of course Wikia, Jimmy Wales’ latest project, that has gotten sub-par reviews.
I see major challenges ahead of Semantinet, but who knows? perhaps this is the winner that everyone is waiting for.