Maluuba, the Siri-like personal assistant that launched at TechCrunch Disrupt SF earlier this year, just announced the launch of its Maluuba International edition. Until now, the service was only available in the U.S., Australia, UK and Ireland, but the International Edition is now available worldwide in the Google Play store. As part of this launch, Maluuba is also now featured in the Appia-powered Vodafone store.
As Maluuba’s CEO and co-founder Sam Pasupalak told me earlier this week, the company is in the process of raising a new round of funding. In total, the company hopes to raise somewhere between $8 million and $10 million and plans to use this money to expand its team. Maluuba previously raised $2 million from Samsung Ventures.
The reason Maluuba decided to launch a special International Edition of its app instead of just making its current app available in different countries is because its service depends on a large number of local content partners. Many of these, however, aren’t available everywhere (think Yelp, for example) and the user experience isn’t very good without reliable access to partner content. Since its launch, Maluuba saw a lot of international demand for its app and Pasupalak noted that the service has users all around the world, despite the fact that the app isn’t available outside of the company’s three core markets.
For the time being, Maluuba only understands English, but the team plans to expand the range of supported languages by early next year.
Also on the roadmap is an API that will allow developers to tap into Maluuba’s natural language processing capabilities. This API will likely launch within the next month.
Also coming soon is support for additional topic domains, including restaurant reservations, shopping and sports updates. These areas, of course, lend themselves nicely to revenue-sharing and affiliate partnerships.
Maluuba’s mission is to empower people with the ability to find exactly what they want by speaking to their smart phone. Maluuba’s proprietary, patent-pending engine provides superior capabilities to traditional voice recognition systems. Asking a question like, “what movies are playing nearby?” enables users to buy tickets, find theater directions, and share search results on social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The Maluuba language engine is a product of two years of advanced research in artificial intelligence, machine learning...