Exclusive – Personalized web search tool Trapit, often called the sister to Apple’s Siri because both were built on the same artificial intelligence project from DARPA and SRI, has just raised $6.2 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Horizons Ventures, the Hong Kong-based venture fund that manages the investments for Facebook and Spotify investor Li Ka-shing. Horizons also previously invested in Siri’s B round.
While both Siri and Trapit arose from the same underlying technology and IP, Trapit moved in a different direction. It focuses on personalized search and web discovery in order to bring your attention to the web content that best matches your interests. To do so, the service’s web crawler indexes hundreds of thousands of sites, then utilizes its intelligent discovery engine to find content that matches your “traps” – aka, your saved search terms.
In some ways, it’s like an RSS reader, except that instead of subscribing to websites’ feeds, you’re subscribing to topics. As you continue to use the service, you can improve upon its initial recommendations by providing feedback. In addition, unlike several “topic based” web discovery services, the traps are entirely unique. No two users’ traps are alike, even if their search terms are the same.
With the additional funding, Trapit plans to grow its development team, continue its app development and core R&D investments and expand to other platforms, including mobile and tablet.
Rob Majteles, Founder and managing partner of Treehouse Capital and a GP at Oak Investment Partners is also joining Trapit as an outside, non-investing Director. Majteles, who has been an informal advisor since Trap.it’s formative stages at SRI, will join the company’s board.
The new board will now include himself, plus co-founder and CEO Gary Griffiths, co-founder and chief Product Officer Henry Nothhaft, Jr., SRI’s Steve Ciesinski and Frank Meehan of Horizons Ventures.
Trapit was also just selected as one of the eight finalists for the SXSW Accelerator in the Most Innovative Web Startup category, which Siri won in 2010.
The company now delivers over 4 million articles per day and has seen over 2.5 million users since launch.
Trapit is a virtual personal assistant for Web content – “ a content concierge.” The company is born out of SRI’s CALO project, an ambitious DARPA-funded effort to create a next-generation personal cognitive assistant that learns and self-improves.