Convera Corporation

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Type Private
Industry Internet, Computer software
Founded 2001
Headquarters Vienna, VA, United States
Key people

Patrick C. Condo, President and CEO
Ronald J. Whittier

, Chairman of Board
Matthew G. Jones, CFO
Revenue Increase1.3 million USD (2009)[1]
Net income Decrease23 million USD (2009)[1]
Employees 32[1]

Convera was formed in December 2000 by the merger of Intel's Interactive Services division and Excalibur Technologies Corporation. Until 2007, Convera's primary focus was the enterprise search market through its flagship product, RetrievalWare, which is widely used within the secure government sector in the United States, UK, Canada and a number of other countries. Convera sold its enterprise search business to FAST Search & Transfer in August 2007 for $23 million, at which point RetrievalWare was officially retired.[2] Microsoft Corporation continues to maintain RetrievalWare for its existing customer base.

In February 2010, Convera Corporation merged with Firstlight ERA to become NTENT[1], bringing with it its web-scale semantic search engine.


Excalibur Technologies had a history of search technology development dating back to the early 1980s. Originally founded by Jim Dowe in 1980, Excalibur sought to exploit neural networks through Adaptive Pattern Recognition Processing (APRP). One of the applications of APRP was text retrieval, and it was found that the technology could provide a pattern matching search that was able to tolerate spelling variations and optical character recognition (OCR) processing errors over large volumes of scanned/OCR material. In 1995, Excalibur Technologies acquired ConQuest Technologies, a Maryland based company, which was an early pioneer of semantically enhanced search. This technology was adopted by parts of the US Government in the early 1990s and was perhaps best known, in the public domain, for providing the Excalibur rapid rebuttal database that was successfully used by the UK Labour Party in their 1997 election campaign.


Convera Corporation and its successor NTENT provide software as a service (SaaS) vertical search services to publishers and other media companies. Publishers use the web search platform to create customized search experiences for specialist audiences. Convera's vertical search services have been used by many of the leading publishing companies, including John Wiley & Co., Centaur Media, Incisive Media, Lebhar-Friedman and Advanstar. Vertical search applications are usually presented under the publisher's brand and typically combine a mixture of public web data (selected by the publisher as being the best public content available on the subject), the publisher's proprietary content and private content provided by third parties.


A controlling interest in Convera was held by Allen & Company, a New York based investment bank. Allen & Company has been associated with Convera since its foundation in 2000 and was also a major shareholder in Excalibur Technologies for many years.


After the merger with Firstlight ERA in February 2010, Convera's remaining assets and technology became the property of NTENT. NTENT continues to provide web-scale semantic search for vertical applications, and also provides context-sensitive advertising services for both web pages and search results.[3] [4] [5] [6] [7]


  1. ^ a b c "10-K". Retrieved 2009-04-25. 
  2. ^ "FAST Acquires Convera’s RetrievalWare Business". Information Today, Inc. 2007-04-09. "While FAST will continue to support the RetrievalWare platform, it will not continue development on it or add new features. RetrievalWare customers will be offered an upgrade path to FAST’s own offering." 
  3. ^ "Convera Completes Merger Of Its Operating Subsidiaries With NTENT - Quick Facts". RTTNews. 2010-02-11. Retrieved 15 November 2010. 
  4. ^ Starr, Barbara (2012-10-25). "For Google Shopping & More, NTENT!". Search & Retail. Search Engine Land. Retrieved 8 January 2013. "NTENT is the name of a company based in New York, London, Vienna and Carlsbad that offers users an alternative to Google paid search ads. They also offer several niche vertical search engines of their own, such as wedding, food, woodwork and more." 
  5. ^ Sullivan, Laurie (2011-07-12). "Brand Images Heighten Paid-Search Ads". SearchBlog. Media Post. Retrieved 8 January 2013. "In February 2010, Convera, a developer of search technology for the U.S. intelligence community, and Firstlight ERA, an advertising sales technology company, merged to create NTENT. The one company supports semantic search, indexing and ad matching to understand concepts and the context of information in a way that is similar to humans. Today, the engine operates on publisher sites. In the future it could turn into a stand-alone engine. The semantic technology helps the engine find the difference between jaguar the car and jaguar the animal." 
  6. ^ Sullivan, Laurie (2012-01-16). "Foodies Get Search Engine Organizing Results In Categories, Images". SearchBlog. Media Post. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  7. ^ Sullivan, Lauri (2011-09-02). "Semantic Search And Raw Data On Rise". SearchBlog. Media Post. Retrieved 8 January 2013. "Search engines are also looking more toward semantic search. Colin Jeavons, NTENT president and CEO, said the company will launch mobile voice search for the iPhone and phones running Android operating system next week to support the company's semantic search engine technology for computers and tablets." 

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