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Idibon, a startup that has developed technology for analyzing text in many languages, could be shutting down soon, VentureBeat has learned.
The company ran out of the money needed to keep operating independently, and acquisition talks recently fell apart, a source familiar with the matter told VentureBeat. Employees were told earlier this week that Friday would be their last day, the source said. Cofounder and CEO Rob Munro confirmed that information, but he also said the startup has received two more offers.
Idibon came up at a time of rising interest in natural-language processing (NLP), as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and other companies have been investing in this technology, at times through acquisitions. Most recently, Salesforce bought MetaMind.
The startup developed a tool for performing sentiment analysis on data from social networks, and a service for named entity recognition is listed as “coming soon” on the startup’s website. The Idibon Terminal application programming interface (API) has been available alongside the web-based Idibon Studio graphical user interface (GUI). The technology can automatically categorize text documents (like tweets) into groups and then ask users to classify documents that don’t fall into a given category. Using that input, the system gets smarter over time.
Other companies with NLP technology include Aylien, Babel Street, Diffbot, Kngine, Lexalytics, and Luminoso. There’s also open-source NLP software, such as NLTK for Python and Stanford University’s CoreNLP for Java.
Idibon started in 2012 and has its headquarters in San Francisco. Investors include Altpoint Ventures, Inventec, Khosla Ventures, Morningside Ventures, and Samsung. Customers include Edmunds, Samsung, and Unicef. The startup shows biographies for 23 employees on its website. Advisors include Stanford professors Dan Jurafsky, Christopher Manning, and Christopher Potts.
Update on April 23: Idibon said it is “closing most services” in a blog post. “I would like to thank all of the people who have been part of the Idibon family — from our amazing NLP engineers to our terrific interns and of course our investors and our clients,” Munro wrote. “We thank them all for their continued support as we plan the next steps for the company and our staff.”
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