Needl wants to be a search engine for your accounts • TechCrunch


Google, DuckDuckGo and other search engines help you find information on the web. But accessing documents, messages, meetings and emails from your own account is difficult. You need to go to different apps to find things that might be related to a project. A Y-Combinator-backed app called Needl is helping users.

Needl is a cross-platform app that lets you search through your local file system and accounts like Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Notion, and Slack. The free version — available on the web, Windows, and Mac — lets you link one account per integration. If you want more account connections and integrations like Jira and Linear, you’ll have to pay $10 a month.

The application is easy to set up and use: once you install it on your system, it will ask you to link your Google, Slack and Notion accounts. Once that’s done, you can search for files, events, emails, and more across all of these accounts and your local file system. You can filter these results by files, messages, events, tasks, and emails.

Image Credits: Needle

If you’re a keyboard ninja, the app has handy shortcuts to launch and navigate the interface. Users can customize shortcuts to launch the app and jump to the home view. The default view on the app shows the activity feed, which shows you contextual information on different apps, like your upcoming meeting.

Needle founders Max Keenan, Angela Liu and James Liu are all graduates of the University of Chicago and met at a hackathon. Worked on a few side projects using GPT-2 and TikTok as a tool for writing essays for blog posts. After university, McKennan worked at Moellis Investment Bank, while Angela Liu and James Liu joined Microsoft.

The three said they had to get organized once they got to work and carefully follow naming systems and folder structures to easily find information. They wanted to solve this problem by reorganizing data through continuous and manual search.

“We were looking for a problem that was historically unsolved, but improvements in language models could solve it. It hit us in the face almost as we were on board when the pandemic happened — information was locked up in all these different platforms and we could improve data search and discovery,” Keenan said in an email conversation with TechCrush. Lai said.

Image Credits: Needle

The Needle team wrote the first line of code in June in Y-combinator’s Winter 2022 team. The company has raised $2.5 million from various investors including Fuse, Y Combinator, Palm Drive Capital, Liquid 2 Ventures, Collin Wallace and Nathan Wenzel.

The company released the product in closed beta to about 200 users in August. Now the company is making it available to everyone under public beta.

Keenan said the company wants to focus on improving its context and semantic search in large language models (LLM) over the next 12 months. The startup also wants to add more premium integrations like Asana, Hubspot and Salesforce.

The startup counts Glynn as one of its main competitors in enterprise search, which powers the startup’s applications. In May, Glenn raised $100 million in a Series C funding round led by Sequoia from Lightspeed, General Catalyst, Kleiner Perkins and Slack Fund at a $1 billion post-money valuation.

Keenan says the biggest difference between Glynn and Needle is the shorter setup time for the latter.

“The biggest difference from Glynn is that our product is self-service and can be set up in less than 2 minutes by anyone, regardless of company size. Glynn sells through sales-driven processes that require full company adoption, can take months, and are not accessible to individuals or small teams,” he said.

Neva, a search engine built by a former Google ad exec, also offers search features through app integrations. However, it is expanding in Europe only in the US.

In the long term, Keenen said, Needl wants to preempt search demand and provide information through its own recommendation engine.



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