It’s been nearly two years since we first encountered Wavii. Operating in the equivalent of a bunker, the Seattle startup has offered just a few clues of the news aggregation service that it is building.

But the company — backed by some of Silicon Valley’s top angel investors and led by former Microsoftie Adrian Aoun — is finally creeping into the daylight with the announcement that its service is now publicly available.

So, what’s Wavii all about? Think about it as an automated news service that helps de-clutter your daily intake of digital content, helping to solve the problem of information overload.

“Wavii is kind of like having your own team of people whose only job is to work 24-7 to find the most relevant news, photos and videos about your interests, and summarize them into updates for your feed,” the company explains in a new promotional video. (See below).

Cnet calls Wavii “a smart timeline of the news,” while TechCrunch describes it as “personalized feed of the news and current events that are relevant to you.”

In some regards, Wavii could get tossed into the same bucket with Seattle’s Evri, the Paul Allen-backed startup that’s developing ways to parse information into relevant news channels for consumers. In fact, one of Wavii’s former top engineers, Michele Banko, used to work at Evri. It also draws some parallels to Summify, the social news service that was acquired by Twitter earlier this year (and is slated to be shut down) and Zite which was acquired by CNN last summer.

Oren Etzioni. GeekWire photo via Annie Laurie Malarkey

But University of Washington computer scientist Oren Etzioni, an expert in natural language processing technologies, says Wavii’s extraction technology is simply better than Evri and other services.

“It’s too technical to describe how, but the results speak for themselves,” says Etzioni, an adviser to the company. “They are using their technology to create a feed and build a conversation around it. The way I think about it is: In Twitter you follow ‘who’ and on Wavii you follow ‘what.'”

Etzioni — who previously founded Farecast and — said he thinks the company has a lot of promise.

“In short, Wavii marries two powerful trends: ‘semantics from text’—which we’ve seen Google and Bing move towards, and ‘social,’ which is red hot, of course,” he says. Investors in the company include Ron Conway, Shawn Fanning, Dave Morin, Mitch Kapor, Max Levchin, and others.

And what’s the business model? Advertising is a natural one, but Aoun tells The Wall Street Journal that they are “not pursuing revenue right now.”

Here’s the full video explaining the new — or should we say old — startup.


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  • Kirill Zubovsky

    Good idea, but I am curious to see if it takes off. “What” is irrelevant without “who” and both variables constantly change. You can’t predict what I am going to like tomorrow, based on what I like today because overtime I will get saturated with information that I like and I’d want to seek out new information that I am unaware of. That’s why Hacker News works so well – it’s never just tech news, it’s always a good mixture of something that’s interest and something that’s irrelevant (to some, and yet so engaging for others). But who know, maybe you can. Let’s see :)

  • Kirill Zubovsky

    ps. email verification link fails. well, not really, but yes. It sent me to the front page of the site, which required me to click “sign up” again, at which point it realized I was already “in” and showed me the next steps. Verification link should verify and then redirect to the personalization page.

    Oh, and sends me to 404 page.

  • R0wdyman

    Appears to be no Android support at this time (at least not my device).  Android may have 50+% of the smart phone market but they have 10% of the apps.

  • Guest

    Congratulations to Wavii on the launch! Once they support Android and Windows Phone, I think this could be the next billion-dollar idea.

  • Anonymous but Curious

    How is Wavii not out of money at this point?  They got $2M in seed funding in July 2010, now apparently have 25 employees.  Even with a low burn rate of $100k/year per employee, even considering hiring ramp up, they should be just about out of cash.  Did they get a new private round of funding or something?  What’s keeping them going?

    Not that I’m wishing them ill, but, after three years in “stealth” with no launch, I was expecting their next announcement to be deadpool.  Did they get another round of funding?  Or is this a last ditch PR effort to get a buyout offer before they go under?

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