Amazon quietly acquired a small audio-focused artificial intelligence firm called Snackable.AI last year to bolster user features for its podcasts, The Post has learned.
Amazon closed the deal for Snackable last December, the company confirmed to The Post.
Mari Joller, the founder and CEO of Snackable, now serves as an artificial intelligence and machine learning product leader at Amazon.
Snackable will be working on podcast features offered through Amazon Music, the company added.
The deal’s financial terms were not disclosed.
Joller now leads a “team of engineers, applied scientists and computational linguists to build AI-powered products for Amazon Music Podcasts’ customers,” according to her LinkedIn account.
Amazon representatives declined further comment.
The deal comes as Amazon and other Big Tech rivals scramble to implement AI-powered features in products across their businesses.
The race for AI has intensified following the runaway success of Microsoft-backed OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which generates lifelike responses to a huge variety of user prompts.
During earnings call last month, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky told analysts that the company would be “adding more dollars for large language models and generative AI.”
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy also touched on the company’s plans.
“If you look at the really significant leading large language models, they take many years to build, and many billions of dollars to build,” Jassy said. “And there will be a small number of companies that want to invest that time and money, and we’ll be one of them at Amazon.”
The e-commerce giant confirmed the latest deal with little fanfare, but Snackable.AI’s LinkedIn page was updated to say the company had “joined Amazon to continue innovating and exploring new experiences on behalf of Amazon Music’s podcast customers.”
Snackable.AI touted technology that allowed users and businesses to instantly parse lengthy video or audio clips by “automatically generating chapters, highlights, and more,” according to its listing on the tech forum Product Hunt.
Prior to Amazon’s takeover, Snackable had raised a total of $3.1 million from outside investors in three fundraising rounds, according to data compiled by Crunchbase.
The most recent round took place in 2019.
Joller is an Estonia-born entrepreneur and graduate of Harvard Business School.
She founded Snackable.AI in 2018 after a year-long stint as chief services officer at Alpha Audiotronic.
Joller previously founded Scarlet, a Samsung-funded startup that created an AI-powered virtual assistant.
This story originally appeared on NYPost