New Finnish Startup Turns Search Into Mindmap

Etsimo, a spinout from the University of Helsinki, prides itself in that their tool helps people learn while making it easy to find relevant content in any data.

Up to half of all searches are exploratory, shows to a study by Microsoft. Searchers are often unfamiliar with the domain (there was a reason they turned to search engine). This results in a challenging query formulation and makes it too wide or narrow. Refining the search results with filters or facets just traps the user within the initial query.

When I tried out Etsimo before meeting CEO Thomas Grandell for a proper demonstration, I decided to give it a challenge by searching for Augmented Reality. Sure enough Etsimo delivered, varying its results from famous inventors in the field to technical properties and for what applications the technology is being utilized where.

We discussed with Thomas about the artificial intelligence and machine learning used to form ad-hoc connections in the content resulting in highly personalized query results. This is a form of user experience, exploratory searching doesn’t compete with lookup searching – they are completely different use cases.

Lookup searching is effective when you know what you are searching for, but using appropriate tools usually give superior results. In my view Etsimo delivered a very good whole-view result quickly.

For sure Google has “search-hacks” and shortcuts for finding specific content, but I think Etsimo does it better by having a much shorter learning-curve — especially if you are out for some serious surfing, you will use less cognitive resources finding the materials you need in a shorter period of time.

For the time being, you can try for yourself on their Wikipedia-based demo at