Ex-Akoo Execs Launching Intelligent Personal Assistant

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Terranova Inc., a new Chicago-based technology company, has secured seed funding and technology support from undisclosed sources totaling $1.05 million towards the launch of an intelligent personal assistant app for iPhone and Android devices, the web, and Google Glass.

George Stoikos

Terranova founders hail from Akoo International where George Stoikos was Akoo’s chief technology officer and Andy Stankiewicz was former executive vice-president heading marketing and communications. Stoikos holds the CEO role at Terranova.

Terranova allows users to speak or type what they want to do. If you tell your phone eg. ’join yoga class’, ‘buy Rihanna tickets’, ‘eat sushi,’ ‘go dancing,’ “locate plumber’, etc., the app will then connect you with the nearest, most relevant people, places, and events based on your request and location. If you want to buy tickets to the Rihanna concert in Miami, Terranova will only match you with places selling tickets to the Miami Rihanna concert in your vicinity. If you say, ‘Join a Yoga class’, you might be matched with nearby yoga studios, highly rated yoga instructors, others who have expressed the same intention, a local yoga-clothing store, and an artisan that makes custom yoga mats.

Andy Stankiewicz

The app uses a natural language user interface and is powered by a contextual, computationally efficient learning algorithm. Unlike Apple’s Siri or Google Now – which search the web and/or integrate other applications to answer user questions – Terranova aggregates information about real-world activities and connects users with relevant people, places, and events based on what they want to do.

Terranova will launch a private beta program for its iPhone, Android, and web app in early 2013.

Stoikos and Stankiewicz founded Terranova to develop advanced applications for mobile devices, the web, and wearable computers, such as Google Glass.

Stoikos has 20-years experience developing large-scale, enterprise-level database and distributed applications across multiple industries, including media and advertising, oil, banking, automotive, and utilities in the U.S. and Europe. While at Akoo, he was the architect of the company’s interactive and distributed platform and received multiple patents in the U.S., China, Japan, Russia, Australia, Mexico, and Israel, for his work. Prior to joining Akoo, he founded and led Voyager, a software solutions provider which became a partner and software developer for Akoo. He began his career as an SAP developer, providing solutions for global clients such Colgate-Palmolive, Beiersdorf (Nivea), and the Electrical Authority of Cyprus. He also consulted with organizations such as StatOil, General Motors, and Deutsche Bank.

Stankiewicz is a 20-year technology marketing executive who has worked across corporate, agency, and entrepreneurial environments during his career. He has a track record of helping build tech-driven companies, with expertise in marketing, media relations, marketing, communications, and business development. At Akoo, he was responsible for developing, launching, and scaling the company’s interactive digital video network. He served in such roles as chief marketing officer and chief communications officer responsible for the company’s communications, public relations, media research, and investor relations initiatives, as well as leading the company’s first audience estimates and advertising effectiveness studies with Nielsen and Arbitron. Earlier in his career, Andy was a senior PR & marcom executive at top global firms, including Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide.

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