Needl wants to become the search engine for your accounts • TechCrunch


Google, DuckDuckGo, and other search engines help you find information from the web. But it’s hard to find documents, messages, meetings, and emails from your private accounts. You need to go to different apps to find things that might be related to one project. The app powered by Y-Combinator is called Needle It helps users with that.

Needl is a cross-platform application that allows you to search across your local file system and accounts such as Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Notion, and Slack. The free version – available on the web, Windows, and Mac – lets you connect one account per integration. If you need more account connections and integrations like Jira and Linear, you’ll need to pay $10 per month.

The app is easy to set up and use: once installed on your system, it will ask you to link your Google, Slack, and Notion accounts. Once you do that, you can search for files, events, emails, and other things across all of these accounts and your local file system. You can filter these results by files, messages, events, tasks, and emails.

Image credits: Needle

If you are a keyboard lover, the app has handy shortcuts to launch the interface and navigate. Users can customize the shortcuts to launch the application and go to the main view. The default view in the app shows the activity feed, which will show you contextual information about different apps such as your upcoming meeting.

Needl founders Max Keenan, Angela Liu and James Liu are all University of Chicago alumni who met at the Hackathon. They have worked on a few side projects such as a tool to write articles using GPT-2 and TikTok for blog posts. After college, MaxKeenan worked in investment banking at Moelis while Angela Liu and James Liu joined Microsoft.

The trio said they had to become organized once they joined their jobs and strictly follow naming systems and folder structures to find information easily. They wanted to solve this problem of constantly and manually reorganizing information through research.

We were looking for a problem that was historically unsolved, but improvements in language models would be able to solve it. “Because we were almost on board during the pandemic, it hit us directly — information has been withheld across all these different platforms and we can improve information search and discovery,” Keenan said in an email conversation with TechCrunch.

Image credits: Needle

The Needl team wrote the first line of code in June when they were on the summer 2022 Y-combinator pool. The company raised $2.5 million from various investors including Fuse, Y Combinator, Palm Drive Capital, Liquid 2 Ventures, and Colin Wallace And the Nathan Wenzel.

The company rolled out the product in a closed beta setting for about 200 users in August. The company is now making it available to everyone in a public beta setting.

Keenan said the company wants to focus on improving its contextual and semantic search through Large Language Models (LLM) over the next 12 months. Additionally, the startup wants to add more premium integrations like Asana, Hubspot, and Salesforce.

It counts startup Glean, a startup that supports enterprise search across apps, as one of its main competitors. In May, Glenn It raised $100 million in its Series C funding round Led by Sequoia with the participation of Lightspeed, General Catalyst, Kleiner Perkins and Slack Fund at a valuation of $1 billion after money.

Keenan said the main difference between Glean and Needl is the latter’s shorter preparation time.

“The biggest difference from Glean is that our product is self-serve and anyone can set it up in less than two minutes, no matter the size of the company. Glean sells through sales-led processes that require full company adoption, can take months, and are inaccessible by individuals or small teams.

Neeva, a search engine created by a former Google Ads executive, provides search features through app integration. However, it is only available in The United States with the ongoing European expansion.

Long-term, Keenan said, Needl wants to anticipate the need to research and provide information through its recommendation engine.

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