Google, DuckDuckGo and other search engines help you find information on the web. But it’s hard to find documents, messages, meetings, and emails from your own accounts. You have to go to different apps to find things that might be related to a project. App supported by AY Combinator called Needle helps users with this.
Needl is a cross-platform app that lets you search your local file system and accounts like Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Notion, and Slack. The free version, available on web, Windows, and Mac, lets you connect only one account per integration. If you need more account logins and integrations like Jira and Linear, you’ll need to pay $10 per month.
The app is simple to set up and use: once installed on your system, it will ask you to connect your Google, Slack, and Notion accounts. Once done, you can search for files, events, emails, and other things across all those accounts and your local file system. You can filter these results by files, messages, events, tasks, and emails.
If you’re a keyboard ninja, the app offers handy shortcuts for launching the interface and navigating. Users can customize shortcuts to launch the app and access home view. The app’s default view shows the activity feed, which will show you contextual information about different apps such as your upcoming meeting.
Needl’s founders, Max Keenan, Angela Liu, and James Liu, are all University of Chicago alumni and met at a hackathon. They’ve been working on a few side projects like a tool for writing essays using GPT-2 and a TikTok for blog posts. After college, Max Keenan worked in investment banking at Moelis while Angela Liu and James Liu joined Microsoft.
The trio said they needed to get organized once they joined their work and meticulously follow naming systems and folder structures to easily find information. They wanted to solve this problem of constant, manual reorganization of information through search.
“We were looking for a problem that historically had never been solved, but that improvements in the language models would solve. As we were virtually on board during the pandemic, it hit us right in the face – information was siloed across all these different platforms and we could improve information search and discovery,” Keenan said in an email conversation. -mail with TechCrunch.
The Needl team wrote the first line of code in June while part of the Y Combinator’s 2022 summer cohort. The company has raised $2.5 million from various investors, including Fuse, Y Combinator, Palm Drive Capital, Liquid 2 Ventures, Colin Wallace and Nathan Wenzel.
The company rolled out the product as part of a closed beta to around 200 users in August. Now the company is making it available to everyone as part of the public beta.
Keenan said the company wants to focus on improving its contextual and semantic search through large language models (LLMs) over the next 12 months. Additionally, the startup wants to add more premium integrations like Asana, HubSpot, and Salesforce.
The startup sees Glean, a startup that powers enterprise search through apps, as one of its main competitors. In May, Glaner raised $100 million in its Series C funding round led by Sequoia with participation from Lightspeed, General Catalyst, Kleiner Perkins and the Slack Fund at a post-money valuation of $1 billion.
Keenan said a major differentiation between Glean and Needl is the shorter setup time for the latter.
“The biggest difference with Glean is that our product is self-service and can be set up in less than 2 minutes by anyone, regardless of business size. Glean sells through sales-driven processes that require full enterprise adoption, can take months, and are inaccessible to individuals or small teams,” he said.
Neeva, a search engine created by a former Google advertising executive, also offers search functionality through app integrations. However, it is only available in the United States with ongoing European expansion.
Keenan said that in the long term, Needl wants to anticipate the need to find and present information through its own recommendation engine.