Desti -a spin-out from SRI International- was a traveling and mapping iPad app that used AI to help its user plan their trips and find the best destination based on their preferences. After the user set his preferences the app would essentially work as a search engine finding hotels, restaurants or any other location based on the data and reviews found online regarding said destination. It would then choose and present the one that most closely matched the user's specifications.
Desti wasn’t a faulty app on its own, nor were its services obsolete. The problem seemed to be that although users found the application to be useful and appreciated its location suggestions, they ultimately ended up doing the booking from other more trusted platforms or known brands. It followed that due to its failure to generate revenue from its service, investments came short in the Series A round.
There was also the fact that Desti was a newcomer in a sector which had already several giants such as TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet competing against themselves and to which users automatically resorted to.
Desti was ultimately acquired by Nokia with several members of the Desti team also ending up joining the Finnish multinational company. Nokia said that it planned to use the powerful semantic back-end search engine technology provided by Desti to enhance Nokia’s maps platform, creating thus a revolutionary type of location services that understands and perhaps anticipates users’ destination preferences.