Ness, the app that claims to know where you should eat, is expanding to other services. Just as Ness now offers users personalized recommendations on restaurants, the app will be able to tell users which bars and nightlife scenes may fit them, or where they should take their next vacation.
Ness combines artificial intelligence with and information gathered from a user's actions and social media feeds like Facebook and Foursquare to create a "taste profile" that is added to over time. It's kind of like Siri meets Yelp. The theory is the more Ness learns, the better its recommendations.
But co-founder and CEO Corey Reese doesn't want to stop at that. He's thinking the app will evolve to where it can answer questions like, "What neighborhood should I live in?" or "What school should my children attend?" He wants the app to be able to incorporate a spouse's tastes as well, so that it can answer "What should my wife and I eat for dinner?"
Reese plans to get there with the help of Ness' new a new round of funding announced today -- $15 million -- and new investors SingTel Innov8 and American Express Ventures, investment arms of a global communications network and the credit card service.
While their contributions are not a formal partnership, Reese is hoping this will develop into a relationship over time that can be leveraged to expand what Ness can offer, which ultimately means sponsored results. This news comes on the heels of Ness integrating other features into its app, allowing users to make reservations through OpenTable and view menus through SinglePlatform.
Regardless of where Ness goes, it will need to gather a lot of data and that means it will need more input from users. In addition to social media, Ness draws on user reviews.
Reese wouldn't disclose how many active users Ness has, but he said users have contributed 2.5 million reviews and 5 million Instagram images for restaurant to the app's database in the last year.