Former Pinterest search experts catch the attention of Biz Stone

Biz Stone's attention, former Pinterest search experts

Lance Riedel and Nigel Daley are two individuals who have spent many years working in search discovery. However, it was during their time at Pinterest, while they were launching Pinterest Shopping, that they truly grasped the potential of personalized searches for online shopping.

Traditionally, people would input a keyword into a search engine like Google and expect to receive a ranked result based on that keyword. Yet, Riedel and Daley discovered the power of utilizing large language models (LLM) and image identification artificial intelligence (AI) to revolutionize this process. They realized that search engines could tailor results not only to the keyword, but also to the user’s previous actions.

At Pinterest, they observed that the more a person interacted with the search engine, the more it learned about their preferences and provided better shopping results. With this realization in mind, Riedel and Daley left Pinterest in 2023 to establish their own company, Vantage Discovery. Their aim was to offer this personalized search engine to brands that lacked the resources or expertise to implement LLM and other forms of AI technology themselves.

The unique feature of Vantage Discovery’s search engine is its ability to use image recognition. In addition to typing in a keyword, shoppers can also search using images and ask the engine to display similar products. Furthermore, the engine can tap into the user’s Pinterest profile to generate personalized shopping recommendations based on the items pinned on their board.

Riedel explains that the “kernel” of their engine consists of a custom vector database that combines semantic understanding of the user query and the user’s personal style. This enables Vantage Discovery to retrieve the most personalized and targeted results in a matter of milliseconds across millions of items.

Like most commerce-oriented search engines, Vantage Discovery allows its customers, who are merchants or brands, to control the ranking of the results. The company can also re-rank the results based on a custom model tailored to optimize their clients’ business metrics.

Since its launch in early 2024, Vantage Discovery has been working with several customers, including Cooklist, Koodos,, and Bookopolis. Although the exact revenue figures haven’t been disclosed, they have stated that the company is already generating revenue and is collaborating with one of the world’s largest retailers.

The success of Vantage Discovery has attracted attention, including that of Twitter’s co-founder, Biz Stone. He participated in the company’s recent Series A funding round, contributing to the $16 million raised. Stone is now a board member of Vantage Discovery. Prior to this, the company raised $4 million in seed funding from Stone and Evan Sharp, the co-founder of Pinterest.

Riedel shares that Stone was particularly impressed by Vantage Discovery’s intelligence platform, which supports retrieval augmented generation (RAG), search, and novel discovery features. RAG is a natural language processing technique that combines retrieval and generative AI models. This investment from Stone highlights the potential and value of Vantage Discovery’s technology.

Lobby Capital led the recent funding round, with participation from notable individuals such as Jony Ive, Apple’s former chief design officer, and David Hornik, a partner at Lobby Capital who has invested in companies like Gitlab,, and Evite. Hornik will also be joining the board of Vantage Discovery.

Moving forward, Riedel and Daley express their interest in delving further into “merchandise tooling.” This refers to the methods by which online stores or search engines rank results. They believe that by adding an AI touch to this process, they can streamline and optimize it, removing some of the manual work that retailers currently have to undertake.

Overall, Vantage Discovery’s innovative approach to personalized search engines for online shopping has gained recognition and support from industry leaders. With their expertise and technology, Riedel and Daley are poised to make a significant impact in the world of e-commerce and AI-driven search discovery.

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