A Personal Digital Research Assistant Aimed At Businesses

A group of software industry veterans are betting that a Zurich-based company can leverage the intersection of search, social networking, business intelligence and content curation to create useful services for corporations, analysts and journalists.

Nektoon, a Swiss start-up, has raised $1.5 million from a group of business angels who helped lead the transition from traditional, enterprise –driven software to personalized, user-driven, social apps inside companies like SAP, Qliktech and Siebel Systems. 

Nektoon's investors include Alex Ott, a former executive at SAP and Siebel, board member of Qliktech and founder of CrossContinental Ventures; Mans Hultman, former CEO and Chairman of Qliktech(and an investor in Informilo); Andy Honess, a former executive at Qliktech and Siebel Systems; Dr. Freidrich Georg Hoepfner, Germany’s Busines Angel of the Year in 2010; Raul Vejar, a former executive of SAP and its Business Objects division and Paul Wahl, a board member of Qliktech and former executive at SAP and Siebel who is currently an executive-in-residence at Accel Partners. The company has also received backing from the Swiss-based Hasler Foundation, De Vigier Foundation and the Zurcher Kantonalbank.

Nektoon was created by the founders of Memonic, a web clipper and online note taking app and the Swiss search engine local.ch. The funding will be used to support the launch of the company’s new personal digital research app Squirro, planned for the second quarter of 2012. Informilo plans to be among the first of the beta users and will report back on how well the product actually works.

A working demo of the product is not yet available. The company says that Squirro –which it describes as a personal digital research app - can scan multiple sources from Internet channels and social media, private databases and  even internal systems such as Salesforce.com and SAP to find the most relevant information of a topic of interest, then update it continuously and automatically. It promises that users can then take this “living collection” of curated content and save, synthesize and share with friends and colleagues in a private working space.

Nektoon claims Squirro has a couple of differentiators – it combines all the different tools needed to  work with online content – such as bookmark, clip, take notes and share and integrates with Salesfore and other enterprise apps.It can be used for discovering trends, tracking competitors and monitoring customers and to connect with company applications so that a business can connect its’ prospects data in Saleforce to a continuous stream of relevant news about that customer. The app will run on the desktop, on iPads and on Android.

Of course, Nektoon is not the only company in the increasingly crowded content curation field to target enterprise customers. For example,  InfoNgen a discovery engine for business, finance and information professionals , promises to extract – in real time - relevant and timely information from the web, within emails, in desktop documents or on network drives, and aims to identify trends and connections between topics, companies or products that might not otherwise be apparent Loud3r, which is aimed at publishers and marketers,  combines semantic search and aggregation technology with human knowledge, to provide relevant content. Its’ customers includes Fox and U.S. News and World Report. Equentia offers an enterprise version of its personal content curation and aggregation platform and Curation Station is used by marketers, PR professionals and ad agencies.