Marqo Raises $12.5M to Make AI-powered Vector Search Seamless

Months after a successful seed round, Marqo closes Series A funding and accelerates commercial progress

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. and MELBOURNE, Australia, Feb. 13, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Marqo, the vector search company, has closed a $12.5M (USD) Series A funding round led by Lightspeed with participation from Blackbird VC, January Capital, and Chronosphere founder and CTO Rob Skillington. The funding will be used to advance the adoption of its next generation search platform, which unlocks the massive value of unstructured data across business-critical applications like end-user search, retrieval-augmented generation, and more. The new round of funding brings the company’s total financing to $17.8M (USD).

Unstructured data, which Gartner estimates makes up more than 80 percent of all enterprise data, represents the biggest untapped information resource in the world. For businesses, harnessing that data through vector search holds the key to delivering better search experiences as well as building more relevant and up to date generative AI applications. Unfortunately, existing approaches to deploying vector search, which involve stringing together embeddings models and separate databases, have proven to be costly and complex, often resulting in inefficient deployments and subpar search capabilities.

“We founded Marqo because we recognized that vector search was going to be instrumental in realizing the full potential of AI in our day-to-day lives, but it is far too complicated for developers and enterprises to deploy,” said Tom Hamer, CEO and co-founder of Marqo. “We saw a need to invent a platform that not only generated superior vector embeddings but also empowered customers to build advanced search experiences within minutes, not months. This funding is validation of our approach and will help us scale up to meet the tremendous demand we’re seeing.”

Unlike traditional vector databases and search tools, Marqo’s unique vector search platform handles the entire process from embedding generation to storage and retrieval, enabling seamless implementation of multimodal, multilingual search through a single API. At the core of the platform is a proprietary inference engine that leverages state-of-the-art machine learning models to convert unstructured data into highly performant vectors that return hyper-relevant search results in real time. Marqo offers open source access to its core code for developers as well as a fully managed cloud service, Marqo Cloud, which is optimized for production and suited to enterprises looking to build innovative search experiences and improve topline.

“Mastering unstructured data will be the key to success in the AI race,” said Jesse Clark, CTO and co-founder of Marqo. "Our platform transforms this challenge into an opportunity, creating vector embeddings that deliver intuitive and accurate search results with human-like understanding. It opens up tremendous possibilities for the future of search, smarter LLMs, and much more.”

“The world of search is fast moving from ‘keyword-based’ to ‘natural language-based’ thanks to wide adoption of products such as ChatGPT,” said Hemant Mohapatra, Partner at Lightspeed. “Marqo’s mission is to bring this transformational technology to every company in the world through a simple developer API and an enterprise-grade platform offered on-prem and on cloud. Their early growth has been phenomenal and we are excited to back this amazing team helping consumers to search the way they think.”

Transforming Search for Global E-Commerce Brands

Relevant and reliable search is particularly important for ecommerce companies and online marketplaces. Not only is it a core revenue driver, it is also the foundation for building customer trust and loyalty. Since launching Marqo Cloud, the company has seen significant adoption from enterprises across this space and today counts Redbubble and Temple & Webster among its customer base.

“Discovery fuels our business so it's imperative that we deliver high quality and relevant search experiences to our customers," said Anthony Ziebell, Head of AI at Temple & Webster. "With Marqo, we were able to deploy advanced vector search quickly and easily and see results instantly. We went from sign-up to production A/B testing in five days and, within the next week, had rolled out a new feature to 100% of our traffic after we saw an improvement in key metrics."

Alongside its Series A round, Marqo will relocate its headquarters to San Francisco. Marqo CEO Tom Hamer will also relocate to support the expansion, joining Brett Umberg, formerly VP of Sales at RudderStack, who has joined Marqo as Head of Sales. The company will maintain its presence in both London and Australia.

About Marqo
Marqo is a vector search platform that includes the machine learning capabilities and infrastructure needed to deploy the next generation of AI-powered search. Handling the entire process from vector generation to storage and retrieval, Marqo enables seamless implementation of multimodal, multilingual search through a single API. Fundamental to Marqo’s approach is a proprietary inference engine which converts unstructured data into highly performant vectors that return hyper-relevant search results in real time. Marqo counts Redbubble and Temple & Webster as current customers with countless developers adopting the platform for end-user search, retrieval-augmented generation, and more. The company is based in San Francisco, Melbourne, and London and is backed by world-class investors like Lightspeed and Blackbird.

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