MatchMine, a Massachusetts company building a cross-platform media recommendation engine, announced this morning that they have received a $10 million investment from The Kraft Group. The company released an early product called MyMovieMatch in July, but in the bizarre DEMO dance of "now you see us now you don't," the product has gone back under wraps before it launches next week. Hopefully there will be more disclosed than there has been so far. You can sign up for a beta account now on the company's site. See RIA expert Ryan Stewart's review of the original product for background from this summer.
According to coverage today in Boston.com (via PaidContent), MatchMine starts by asking for demographic information about a user and asking us to rate a variety of sample media. A desktop application the company calls a "gumball machine", probably built in Adobe's AIR if MyMovieMatch is any indication, then lets users flip through recommended media items and learns from their ratings of each. The company aims to let users port their media preference profiles, called their MatchKeys, to a variety of sites around the web.
At launch three sites will support MatchKeys, movie sites Peerflix and FilmCrave and independent music community Fuzz.com. The company is headed by former executives from mobile content provider m-Qube, which was acquired by Verisign for $250 million. Rumor has it that that acquisition lead to heavy talent losses from m-Qube and MatchMine may be an example of such. Executive backgrounds and the company's own discussion on its blog give reason to believe there will be a mobile component to MatchMine as well.
If AIR is at the center of the company's products, I presume this investment will go down as one of the first substantial AIR-centric investments to date. Though recommendation engines are one of the things I'm most excited about for the future, that seems like a big bet on a run-time that's so far no where near as ubiquitous as Adobe's other products. The AIR product is probably just one version of MatchKey, the company was at Seattle's 360Flex conference last month getting feedback on their Flex SDK.
DEMO events have seen media recommendation engines before and there are still a number of viable players in this space despite the struggles they've all faced. The startups with major financial backing, including Oregon based MyStrands ($25m) and now MatchMine with $10m in their coffer, are probably best positioned to work on the science and reach out to a world that has only begun to recognize the value of their services.
For more on this topic, see Alex Iskold's excellent articles The Art, Science and Business of Recommendation Engines and The Attention Economy: An Overview.