Algolia Raises $110 Million and Increases Focus Around Voice Search
Algolia, a search technology provider for websites and products, announced yesterday a new $110 million funding round led by Accel and Salesforce Ventures. The vision going forward is to improve the core search capabilities, improve personalization tools using AI, and extend its voice search solutions. A blog post from Algolia CEO and co-founder Nicolas Dessaigne included this plan for the new funding: “Enrich our conversational and voice search capabilities across web, mobile and voice-first channels to meet increasing consumer demand to search any way, any where, any time.”
The company website states that 71% of consumers “prefer searching through voice” over using a keyboard. And thus, “Algolia helps you go where search is headed.” But, voice is only part of the story at Algolia.
Voice Technology Supporting Ecosystem
Algolia has grown quickly since founding and had already raised more than $74 million in funding through 2017 before it was doing much with voice-related search. It’s 8,000 customers have solutions that today process more than 70 billion searches per month and the company has processed over one trillion searches since its founding in 2012. Almost all of that is text-based search. When you go to Algolia’s website, there is no product for voice search but it is the second listed “solution.”
So, this is not a “voice search” funding story but “voice search” is clearly part of the company’s growth narrative going forward. In today’s announcement, there were multiple links to the newer voice search solutions and only a cursory focus on existing products.
More broadly this is good news for the industry. All new technologies require tooling and services that enable organizations to take advantage of the platform shift. It is easy to underestimate how broadly these changes need to be to help the new platforms fit in with the existing solution scape. Voicebot’s Voice Assistant SEO Report for Brands found that few of the recommendations frequently proposed by search experts to optimize for voice search will provide any benefit and none offer automated solutions. Algolia’s voice search solutions have the potential to provide immediate benefit by making existing content more easily discovered when consumers search by speaking voice.
We saw Pindrop prominently play up its voice connection during its 90 million funding round last year. Algolia is following suit nine months later as voice continues to be a hot topic. With that said, voice search is a small part of Algolia’s business today, but it actually could become central to its future success.