Business

Humanizing online travel search, Eva allows for Siri-style queries

NOTE: GrowthBeat -- VentureBeat's provocative new marketing-tech event -- is a week away! We've gathered the best and brightest to explore the data, apps, and science of successful marketing. Get the full scoop here, and grab your tickets while they last.

Looking for a three-day cruise to Mexico in mid-July? Startup Evature aims to help ease the pain of searching for said vacation via web or mobile.

Evature, a business-to-business search service provider for online travel companies, today launched a version of its text and voice-based travel engine, called “Eva,” for the cruise industry, and has released a mobile app platform for Android.

Natural language processing is the name of Evature’s game. So a search for “Mediterranean cruises from Istanbul in July on a sailing ship” will yield real-time search results just as if the searcher had queried using more robotic terms.

As Menlo Ventures managing partner Shervin Pishevar said in the judging panel following Eva’s DEMO presentation, “We seeded Siri when it was a research project at Stanford… What Eva showed was actually pretty magical.”

The Israel-based company has already received acclaim for Eva (Expert Virtual Agent), an algorithmic engine capable of deciphering free-form text and voice speech and meant to take the hassle out of your online travel search experience. Eva can automatically parse travel queries to identify key travel elements in real-time.

Founder Barry Volinskey describes the offering as a, “unique technology based on cutting edge algorithms, enabling high precision understanding of requests in the travel domain.”

But, in the simplest of terms, Eva is to travel search what Siri is to search on the iPhone. The intelligent travel search assistant is already being used by Skyscanner, Fight and Hotel, and 118 Travel.

On Thursday, iCruise.com launched Cruise Finder Plus, a free-text cruise search tool powered by Eva. Evature is also open sourcing its mobile technology and enabling developers to add voice search capabilities to their mobile travel apps.

Founded in 2009, Evature has raised $100,000 in Angel funding and is currently profitable.

Evature is one of 80 companies chosen by VentureBeat to launch at the DEMO Spring 2012 event taking place this week in Silicon Valley. After we make our selections, the chosen companies pay a fee to present. Our coverage of them remains objective.

Photo credit: ecstaticist/Flickr


We're studying digital marketing compensation: how much companies pay CMOs, CDOs, VPs of marketing, and more, with ChiefDigitalOfficer. Help us out by filling out the survey, and we'll share the results with you.