On mission to make audio and video files searchable, Omnisearch raises $565,000 CAD

Omnisearch founders Matej Ferencevic and Marin Smiljanic

Omnisearch, a Vancouver-based startup, raised $565,000 CAD ($450,000 USD) in an August pre-seed funding round led by GoAhead Ventures, an early-venture fund based in Menlo Park, California.

Initially called Caption until its rebrand in April, Omnisearch provides turnkey enterprise search solutions, facilitating users’ access to a collection of multimedia content. Co-founders Marin Smiljanic and Matej Ferencevic started the company with a mission to make audio and video files searchable. Smiljanic took on the role of CEO and Ferencevic as CTO.

“We think that we got the timing right, and we think that the enterprise search market isn’t as big as it could be.”
 

Since its rebrand, the company has expanded the capabilities of its technology to handle documents, images, presentations and more. Omnisearch claims it owns the most complete and versatile product in the enterprise search space today.

According to Smiljanic, this initial capital will allow the startup to expand its employee base, primarily focusing on hiring more engineers and building a sales and marketing team.

Smiljanic, who has years of engineering experience from Amazon and SingleStore, said the idea of creating a company like Omnisearch came to mind after witnessing the lack of enterprise search solutions first-hand.

“When I was working for Amazon, you just have a lot of different videos that can take hours just finding these difficult concepts,” he said. “We’ve been brainstorming for a couple of startup ideas and we came to the conclusion [that] we should solve this and have it ready out of the box.”

Ferencevic met Smiljanic when the former was still in high school. Having known each other for over a decade, the pair decided to launch a startup together after seeing the need for enterprise search solutions.

After three years of working as an engineer at Memgraph, a Techstars alum, “that’s when we decided to go all-in—into the Omnisearch idea,” Ferencevic said.

The digital content-based solution arrived in good timing, as the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the wider adoption of technology in day-to-day operations. Brookings reported that by the end of January, almost 60 percent of firms had either expanded the use of or invested in new digital technology.

“The pandemic really made audio and video a lot more relevant than it used to,” said Smiljanic, adding that the sudden increase in online activities gave Omnisearch a “completely new sense of urgency.”

Driven by the increase in demand for time-saving data search capabilities, the global enterprise search market is expected to shoot up, as it’s forecasted to reach $8.9 billion USD by 2024, according to a study by Grand View Research.

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Omnisearch claims to see a continued growth in demand for its product, most notably in the education sector. The startup claims to have an about 20 percent increase in paying customers each month since its launch in June.

Smiljanic said a significant portion of the company’s customer base comes from independent instructors who would leverage Omnisearch’s technology to deliver their online courses.

“[Course creators] would generally have a lot of video materials that they record,” he explained. “And either in a personalized or in a one-size-fits-all way, they would distribute this content to their students and their own students pay them.”

Just in time for the fall semester, Omnisearch joined the Thinkific App Store to allow Thinkific students to benefit from its enterprise search technology. Upon installation, students get immediate access to features such as downloading course video transcripts as PDF files and highlighting occurrences of a word or phrase within text-based materials.

“Their students basically just type in a keyword, and they find exact moments in documents or moments in plain text from their courses,” said Smiljanic.

Having just launched its product this June, Omnisearch is looking to capitalize on the growing opportunities in the market created by COVID-19.

“We think that we got the timing right, and we think that the enterprise search market isn’t as big as it could be,” said Smiljanic. “We believe that once we show the value proposition to a sufficient number of people, we’ll be able to grow and make a big and very successful business out of it.”

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz is a journalism student at Ryerson University and the business and technology editor at The Eyeopener, Ryerson's largest independent newspaper.