SLI Celebrates 15 Years of Innovation

July 31, 2016 Shaun Ryan


Everyone at SLI has heard the story of how this company started. In 2001, five of us bootstrapped SLI out of necessity and because we saw an opportunity. We had lost our jobs when NBCi collapsed in the dot-com crash (NBCi had bought our previous company GlobalBrain). But we knew there was an opportunity for the search technology we created. So on August 1, 2001, SLI was born with the aim of improving site search.

In many ways, we were ahead of our time.

We were selling our software as a service before SaaS was even a word. The way our learning works draws upon neural network architectures that are now gaining a lot of attention from a VC world enamored by everything machine learning and artificial intelligence. We quickly started dealing with massive amounts of data before big data was the big thing. And at the time, most sites didn’t have search, or if they did, it was an extremely poor experience.

In 2003, we focused on e-commerce because we saw those selling online had the clearest benefit from better search: They sold more. As e-commerce evolved, so did SLI to better meet the needs of retail leaders and their buyers. Our offerings expanded well beyond search and now include navigation, recommendations, user-generated SEO, mobile and easy-to-use merchandising and reporting tools. We are now a world leader and a global company (with Kiwi roots).

It’s been a fascinating journey, and I’d like to thank all of those who have been part of it. In particular my co-founders: Wayne, Mike, Geoff and Jamie and our families, but also all of the employees both past and present, our customers, partners and investors.

E-commerce continues to get better and so does SLI. We’ve only scratched the surface. As technology continues to change, I’m looking forward to what’s next.

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