I first discovered the Adrian Aoun-led company back in July of 2010 — writing at the time that stealthy startup was working on new natural language technologies to help surface relevant content on the Web. At the time, Aoun didn’t want to say much about the Seattle company, which TechCrunch reported had already spurned a $10 million buyout offer from Yahoo.
Well, fast forward 16 months and Aoun still isn’t saying much about Wavii.
In an interview with GeekWire this week, Aoun said that they are “heads down” working hard on the company’s first product. The entrepreneur who previously worked at Microsoft and Fox Interactive Media stressed on two occasions during our interview that he’s “not looking for press.”
There’s stealth mode. And then there’s double secret stealth mode, a place where Wavii appears to be operating.
Asked why the company has been existing in the netherworld of stealth for so long, Aoun pointed out that Wavii is trying to solve a complex problem.
“We are focused on tough technical challenges that really effect people’s lives, and a lot of that takes time,” he said.
He declined to explain what those challenges are, but through a recent guest post on TechCrunch, LinkedIn bios and other online sources you can piece together a bit of what Wavii is trying to accomplish. Essentially, it is looking to solve information overload.
TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington, who got a peek at the service earlier this year and reported that Wavii had raised $2 million from angels, said that the company is “taking unstructured news and structuring it.” When Arrington wrote his story in January, he too noted how long the company had been operating in stealth mode.
“It continues to get a lot of behind the scenes buzz as the stealth startup to watch. And watch, and watch. They’ve been in private beta for some time,” Arrington wrote.
Of course, trying to sort through the ever-increasing cacophony of news and information is a big, juicy problem. And we’re looking forward to seeing what Wavii eventually unveils. We’re just not sure when we’ll get to see it.
Asked if the service might launch this year, Aoun declined to comment.
In some regards, Wavii could get tossed into the same batch as 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. (According to Banko’s LinkedIn bio, she’s now working at Microsoft as a senior research software development engineer).
Wavii, for its part, appears to be growing. It just moved into a new office in Belltown a few months ago.
In our interview, I asked Aoun for the specific location. But he didn’t want to give an address for “security reasons.”
Once again, there’s stealth mode. And there’s “double secret” stealth mode.
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