February the 5th, 2024 – Google might be the first thing that springs to mind when thinking of Internet search engines, but the Croatian startup Omnisearch also has something to boast about.
As Poslovni Dnevnik/Zvonimir Varga writes, the Croatian startup Omnisearch started its business adventure with its own search engine back in 2021 under the leadership of founders Marin Smiljanić and Matej Ferenčević.
As stated above, Google is always the first thing anyone thinks of when discussing search engines, but Croatian intelligence also has some trump cards of its own in this segment. The Croatian startup Omnisearch has a search engine of the same name that offers innovative functionality, allowing users to search with precision within large collections of video lectures or other multimedia content.
Using its own deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, Omnisearch extracts the maximum amount of information from different types of material. So far, most of their clients can be found across the pond in North America, but great interest can be seen right here on the Croatian market as well. Operations director Tanya Ariana Bendiš discussed future plans as well as the beginnings for the Croatian startup Omnisearch:
“The company’s story initially began when one of the founders, Marin Smiljanić, decided to enter into entrepreneurship with Matej Ferenčević. This was after he had worked for Amazon, where he encountered the challenges of finding information among extensive internal video materials. Ferenčević, who was previously a key member of startup Memgraph, joined in order to create something innovative together,” Bendiš revealed. With the establishment of the company back in 2021, the Croatian startup Omnisearch managed to get its first clients and initiated the first round of funding, which enabled the expansion of the team. By 2023, the company had attracted additional funds through its second round of investments, expanding its team to (currently) ten members.
The enormous impact of AI
Artificial intelligence plays a key role in the Croatian startups Omnisearch’s business, Bendiš pointed out. Deep learning and AI methods are used to understand multimedia content more deeply, enabling search through audio and video materials in a way that wasn’t technically feasible a few years ago.
Investments poured into Omnisearch have so far come from three venture capital funds: Apertu Capital and GoAhead Ventures from the USA, and SQ Capital from here in the Republic of Croatia. David Richardson, a former vice president at Amazon, has also invested in the company. The total value of the investments thus far has reached around 1.2 million US dollars.
The Croatian startup Omnisearch and its plans for Croatia
“Despite the fact that most of the company’s clients are currently from the North American market, Omnisearch has noticed a growing interest from the domestic market as well. The company is currently planning on some very serious expansion and is working with media companies to solve its multimedia content search problems. We’re also planning further recruitment, especially in the technical team, and we’re looking for software engineers and machine learning experts from Croatia,” emphasised Bendiš.
Google isn’t a competitor, at least not directly
There are two main differences between what the Croatian startup Omnisearch offers, and what Google offers. First of all, Omnisearch (at least in its current form) is intended for companies and business users to search their own content, while Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo and other similar search engines are focused on the open web. This is also reflected in the business model, because in one case, ads are the main revenue generator, while in the other, a service or software license comes with a fee. Furthermore, in contrast to more traditional search systems, Omnisearch supports the search of various types of content, from audio and video materials, to images and documents.
“Due to the significantly different focus (companies versus the “broad masses”), we don’t consider Google to be a direct competitor. Companies such as Algolia, Elastic and Twelve Labs are much closer in terms of what they do to us. Challenging Google directly has proven to be a disastrous strategy for many. But… never say never,” said Bendiš.
“The plan going forward is definitely to become a unicorn and go public. That said, ambitious plans like that don’t just happen overnight. The most important steps we need to take throughout 2024 are to achieve explosive growth in the two most important industrial verticals: education and media. We’ve built an excellent team as far as sales and marketing are concerned, and we believe that we can be profitable by the end of this year. On the technical side, we’re planning even bigger investments in machine learning, both in computer vision and in understanding natural language,” Omnisearch business operations director Tanya Ariana Bendiš concluded.