Investing in Glean to unlock productivity with AI-powered enterprise search

Sandeep Arora

Head of Digital Platforms and Emerging Capabilities, Citi

Lee Smallwood

Head of Markets Innovation and Strategic Investing, Citi

Siris Singh

Head of Markets Strategic Investments, Citi

Vibhor Rastogi

Head of AI Investing, Citi Ventures

Cagla Kaymaz

Principal, Citi Ventures


Enterprise search has long been a tangled web. Unlike consumer search engines such as Google, which only pull data and provide results from public-facing websites, enterprise search engines must be able to both discover content spread across a company’s internal communication channels and file-storage systems and control access to that content based on the company’s security policy. Enterprise search users also tend to look for specific pieces of information using the company’s unique vocabulary — vocabulary that the search engine must therefore also know in order to find the needle in the haystack.

It's no wonder, then, that the market for enterprise search has historically been underserved despite the significant opportunity it represents to boost worker productivity. While several promising solutions have emerged over the past 20 years, adoption remains quite low as none has yet come close to providing the kind of fast, accurate, relevant and personalized results that Google and others deliver for public search.

That's why we at Citi are excited about Glean, the AI-powered work assistant that leverages its best-in-class enterprise search and retrieval-augmented generation (RAG) technology to accelerate the secure deployment of generative AI in the workplace.

Glean’s platform stands above the rest in several ways:

  1. It connects to over 100 popular business applications and data repositories (e.g., Teams, Slack, Jira, GitHub and ServiceNow) and continuously crawls and indexes the data within them to build a knowledge graph unique to each company’s content, internal language, people and relationships. This ensures comprehensive search coverage while improving search personalization and relevance.
  2. Unlike most search engines, which perform lexical search based on keywords alone, Glean performs concept-based retrieval. Using natural language processing, large language models (LLMs) and RAG, Glean is able to understand the meaning of words — helping it retrieve trustworthy answers related to a user's query even if they don't contain an exact keyword match. For example, if a user searches for “holiday calendar” but the company's knowledge base only contains the phrase “vacation calendar,” Glean will still return the right result.
  3. Glean provides role-based access control, taking into account all enterprise data permissions to ensure that users only have access to information they’re allowed to see — helping keep sensitive information secure.

But Glean hasn’t stopped there. In 2023, the company began leveraging generative AI (GenAI) to further improve its capabilities. It now offers a GenAI-based assistant that combines its search engine with the reasoning, summarization and conversational capabilities of LLMs. Glean Assistant can be implemented using the LLM of its customer’s choice without professional services, data training or fine-tuning, and can be used for Sales, Customer Support, Engineering and more. It even helps users build custom no-code GenAI applications, allowing enterprises to create conversational experiences for tasks like handling HR requests or answering FAQs in communication platforms.

Unsurprisingly, this game-changing platform is the brainchild of a true founding dream team. Co-founder and CEO Arvind Jain distinguished himself as one of Silicon Valley’s premier software engineers during Google's early days, where he spent over a decade leading teams at Google Search, Google Maps and YouTube. He then went on to co-found the unicorn data management company Rubrik, where he battled enterprise data sprawl and poor internal search solutions. Deciding to tackle the problem head-on, Arvind solicited T.R. Vishwanath, a former tech lead at Facebook and Microsoft, and Tony Gentilcore, the founder of Google’s Chrome Speed team, to join him in founding Glean.

Thanks to its proprietary search and RAG technology, enterprise AI platform and top-tier team, we believe that Glean has significant potential to boost productivity and enhance knowledge management at Citi and across the business community. Thus, we at Citi are extremely pleased to announce our investment in Glean's Series D funding round — joining Lightspeed Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, IVP, Coatue, ICONIQ Growth, General Catalyst, Sequoia Capital, Workday Ventures, Capital One Ventures, Databricks Ventures and Latitude Capital. We look forward to supporting Glean in its mission to help teams work more efficiently. Our congratulations to Arvind and the entire Glean team!