|Fate||Acquired by eBay|
|Founder||Caterina Fake and Chris Dixon|
Hunch was a company founded in 2007 that developed a collective intelligence recommender system that used decision trees to make decisions based on users' interest. Hunch developed a public-facing website that was launched publicly in June 2009. In November 2011, Hunch announced it was to be acquired by eBay for $80mn. Through its acquisition of Hunch, eBay sought to obtain Hunch's recommendation engine technology. The company hoped to improve their e-commerce website's ability to guide consumers to products they are likely to purchase.
Hunch was co-founded by Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake and Chris Dixon with an 11-person team of MIT graduates. Hunch started a private preview period in December 2008, but opened the preview to the public in March 2009 as an invitation-only private beta. Users had to request an invitation at Hunch.com, which took a few days to receive. In December 2009, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales joined Hunch.com as Board Member and advisor.
By February 2010, the website's traffic had grown to 1.2 million unique visitors. In January 2011 Hunch was redesigned from decision tree system and topic specific questions to tagging and product referral.
In November 2011 it was announced that Hunch had been officially acquired by eBay Inc. for 80 million dollars. eBay hoped integrate Hunch's recommendation engine technology in order to improve the predictive ability of their own e-commerce platform to guide consumers to items they are likely to purchase. Specifically, eBay wanted the Hunch technology to improve the ability of their search engine to suggest non-obvious purchase suggestions. In an interview, Hunch co-founder Chris Dixon said that the Hunch technology may suggest to an avid coin-collector to purchase a microscope for use in examining coins, a suggestion he said traditional machine learning algorithms could not achieve.
After its acquisition by eBay, co-founder Chris Dixon remained as head of the operating business within eBay. To combine data science efforts across the company, eBay merged under the leadership of Dixon the approximately 20 employees at Hunch with the approximately 50 employees on the existing eBay data science team.
While the underlying recommendation engine technology remains in use at eBay, the public-facing website for the independent Hunch recommendation engine was closed in March 2014.
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