Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Quest for the 3rd Generation Search Engine Continues!

A few months ago New York Times probed a bunch of start-up search engines as possible way to go in beating Google's dominance on the search market. These days yet another influential media giant Newsweek seems to be going against Google. In a quest for the best search engine Newsweek, in a story titled "Searching For The Best Engine", claims a global effort is underway to invent a better way of finding things on the Web and asks the rhetorical question "Could Google be vulnerable?" .

Aside the French, German and Japan's governments pouring hundreds of millions in an effort to establish local search companies as well as the traditional Google rivals in the face of Microsoft, Yahoo and somehow, Newsweek seems to be focused on the so called 3rd generation or alternative search engines emerging upon us with innovative ideas, concepts and technologies promising to deliver better results than Google in one way or another.

In 2005 and 2006, venture-capital firms invested $350 million into 79 search-related start-ups. Knight, the author of's blog tracks no fewer than 1,000 search contenders, mostly U.S.-based, that have something to recommend the old guys in the sector.

The story mentions a number of innovative and highly promising start-up search engines, technologies and approaches as follows:

Hakia – Relies on natural language processing.

Wikia - The one the Wikipedia's founder stays behind.

Naver* - a South Korean search veteran, has been around for pretty much the last decade.

Quintura – A visual engine started out by Russians but now said to be based in Virginia.

NosyJoe – A Social search engine that employs intelligent tagging technologies and runs on a semantic platform.

Mahalo - Hard to say search engine it more looks like a directory with quality content handpicked by editors. Jason Calacanis is the one behind the company.

ChaCha – Real humans try to help you in your quest for information, via chat.

Powerset – Still in closed beta, well over-hyped and seems to be also relying on understanding the natural language.

Clusty* - founded in 2000 by three Carnegie Mellon University scientists.* - Today's #4 search engine immediately after Google, Yahoo and MS.

Lexxe - Sydney based engine featuring natural language processing technologies.

Accoona – What's interesting for the company is that they have recently filed for an IPO in US planning to raise $80M from the public.

KartOO – A French initiative entirely done in a flash, visual meta search engine.

KoolTorch – Seems to be yet another visual search engine, it is said to be also French one. Weak point could be that they don't use their own index and seem to be using the's results.

Squidoo – It has been started in October 2005 by Seth Godin and looks more like a wiki site, ala Wikia or Wikipedia where anyone creates articles on different topics.

Sproose – Appears to be also using third party search feeds; ranks the results based on the users' votes.

Trulia – A real estate search engine

Healthline - Enables you to plug in symptoms and track down possible causes and treatment, health search engines, a heavily competitive area where Microsoft is also playing a role in, among others

Globaspec – Searches for industrial information and is aimed at engineers. – Product search engine.

Spock – Focuses on people information, people search engine, and there are other competitors in the sector.

* Note that Naver is not a start-up search engine; it has been around for quite long time and is the lading search engine in South Korea . and are also among the old guys from the sector.

Very interesting fact is that right now all these underdog search engines are said to have a combined market share of less than 5 percent of all queries, which is an impressive number knowing that 1% of the search market is today valued at the staggering amount of more than $1B, according Don Dodge.

The story is scheduled to appear on the Nov 5, 2007 print issue of Newsweek.

Just like a few months ago when we covered the NYT's story today we again think that only the time will tell us who will be the big winner at the end of the day. On the other hand whatever the case is any of the above search engines may get acquired sooner or later for anything in the 8 digit range (excluding some of the major players from the list above which may hunt amounts down in the 9+ digit range), which, in our feeling, is the main goal of most of these start-ups.

On the contrary, many IT experts and professionals do believe that undermining Google is most likely a task that will not be accomplished by a search engine in our traditional understanding, but rather would come from a concept that is anything else but not a search engine. Such concepts, including but not limited to, are Wikipedia, and LinkedWords. In other words finding information on web doesn't necessarily mean to search for it.

Some more information on the topic:

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Review of the August 2007 Web 2.0 Deals

LinkedIn Competitor Viadeo Raises €5 Million
Viadeo, a European social network for business contacts which is quite similar in idea and execution to LinkedIn, has raised a further €5 million in funding from its existing investors, AGF Private Equity and Ventech. The extra cash will be used to fuel the growth of Viadeo in Asia; so far, the network has been doing very well in Europe, with over 1.3 million members.

DailyMotion Raises $34 Million; Another Copyright Infringing Success Story
French social video site DailyMotion has raised a $34 million round from Advent Venture Partners LLP and AGF Private Equity, a division of Allianz AG. The new round comes on top of $9.5 million in previous financing from Atlas Ventures and Partech International. The round puts DailyMotion’s total financing beyond that of their competitors, even MetaCafe’s $45 million total financing. Dailymotion’s executive chairman, Mark Zaleski, said the new funds will ‘allow us to reach operating profitability‘.

VersionTracker Acquired by CNETVersionTracker, an online publication for software updates, has been acquired by CNET. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. With this integration deal, VersionTracker and its sister sites iPhone Atlas and MacFixIt will be incorporated into the CNET family as well. This gives VersionTracker a larger audience and access to more resources, while CNET expands its niche sites and grows its offerings of Mac information on the web.

Microsoft Acquires Enterprise Group Chat Company Parlano
Microsoft has announced that it has agreed to acquire Chicago-based Parlano, the maker of the enterprise group chat platform MindAlign. Microsoft said that it would use Parlano’s group chat functionality to improve Microsoft Office Communications Server and Microsoft Office Communicator.

SayNow Lands $7.5 Million Series A
SayNow, a service that enables ‘celebrities to connect to their audience over the phone’ will announce $7.5 million Series A funding September 12, in a round led by Shasta Partners. Tugboat Ventures’ Dave Whorton, a SayNow advisor since early 2006, also participated in the round as did Costella Kirsch. Rob Coneybeer, MD of Shasta Ventures will join the SayNow board of directors …

Zivity’s Model Contest Site Raises $1M in Funding
Zivity, the social network aiming to be a user-generated Playboy Magazine online, has received $1 million in funding in a Series A round of funding, from private investors. We mentioned Zivity yesterday and you can read about it here…

The New York Times to Acquire Freakanomics Blog, and More
The New York Times is acquiring the popular Freakanomics blog, which was launched as a sort of spin-off to the success of the book, keeping up with its momentum. This will be the first blog that the New York Times acquires and adds to its larger media family, but there’s word that the newspaper plans to acquire even more blogs in the not-too-distant future. Seems like blogs are getting acquired left and right these days, which is good for the creators, writers and publishers of these blogs, and good for the economics surrounding the blogosphere. Acquires Glimpse
Shopping search engine startup TheFind has acquired the high-fashion shopping site for an undisclosed amount. It’s an early deal for Glimpse, which just launched this year. TheFind is a comparison shopping search engine that crawls many shopping sites across the internet (190 million products at over 500,000 stores).

Maya’s Mom Acquired by BabyCenter
Maya’s Mom, the social networking site for mothers, has been acquired by BabyCenter, the mom-centric parenting network, making this its first acquisition. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed. According to the deal, Maya’s Mom will remain a standalone product, and its back-end software will be utilized across BabyCenter’s network of global websites.

SeatSmart’s Ticket Search Funded in Angel Round
SeatSmart, the search engine dedicated to finding tickets for concerts, games and events, has raised a round of angel funding for an undisclosed amount. The company is a ticket search aggregator of sorts, perusing Stubhub, Razorgator, eBay, and other major ticket-selling sites to bring you a variety of search results.

Jaxtr Closes $10 Million Series A; Announces 1 Million Users
Jaxtr has raised a $10 million Series A round led by August Capital with Mayfield Fund, Draper Richards, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Luxemburg-based Mangrove Capital participating. They’ve also doubled their registered user base over last month, totalling 1 million users. They plan on getting to a break even point on the investment and to total 20 million users by the end of next year.

SpiceWorks Raises $8 Million; Google Adsense Even Supports IT Software
IT software maker SpiceWorks just closed an $8 million in series B financing. The funding round was led by Shasta Ventures with participation from Spiceworks series A investor, Austin Ventures. Their series A was $5 million. Shasta Ventures co-founder and managing director, Ravi Mohan, and former Dell senior executive, John Hamlin, have joined the Spiceworks board of directors. The money will be used to support over 120,000 users as well as software development and sales and marketing. Raises $5M for Bookmarking and Media-Sharing Site, the social bookmarking and media-sharing site that’s relaunched with a Q&A slant, has received $5 million in funding. The funding was provided by North Bridge Venture Partners, with its Michael Skok joining the board.

MocoSpace Raises $3M for Mobile Network
MocoSpace, a mobile social network, has received $3 million in a Series A round of funding. The round was led by General Catalyst, and Pilot Group and Michael Daring, a former eBay executive, participated as well. The funding will be used to expand the company’s sales and marketing.

Fotolog Acquired by Hi Media, French Ad Network
EXCLUSIVE: We had previously speculated that New York-based Fotolog would be the next one to get acquired. And we were right. It has been acquired by Hi Media, a Paris-based interactive media company for roughly $90 million - a combination of cash and stock, according to well-placed sources. The announcement is likely to be made later today.

FM Raises Another $4.5M; Are They Having Difficulty Filling Inventory?
Reports from PEHub and Mashable indicate a new $4.5 million Series B round of funding for Federated Media. Congrats! Federated Media provides advertising for some of the world’s largest blogs including: TechCrunch (TC is in “open warfare” and looking for a replacement), Read/WriteWeb, GigaOm, Mashable, ArsTechnica, TechDirt and about 100 other blogs.

DivX Acquires Veatros to Create Enhanced Video Search & Discovery for the Home
DivX has acquired Veatros, creators of a video identification technology, for $4.25 million. The acquisition of Veatros will be used for DivX to create an improved video search and discovery service on the DivX Connected platform, incorporating metadata like cover art, information on videos’ directors and actors, and titles.

LendingClub To Close $10.26 Million Series A
Peer to peer lending service Lending Club will close a $10.26 million series A round of financing from Norwest Venture Partners and Canaan Partners tomorrow. This comes a few months after the company’s $2 million angel round. Coinciding with the investment, Jeff Crowe and Dan Ciporin (former ceo of are joining Lending Club’s board of directors.

Conduit Labs Closes $5.5 Million Series A Funding
Conduit Labs, a yet-to-launch gaming virtual world, just closed a $5.5 million series A round with Charles River Ventures and Prism Venture Works. In addition to the financing, CRV’s Susan Wu and Prism’s Will Kohler have joined the company’s Board of Directors.

SINOHUB Receives New RMB 23.5 Million Letter of Credit Line from Commercial Industrial Bank
SinoHub Technology Company, Ltd. today announced that it has successfully closed a RMB 23.5 Million Letter of Credit facility with the Commercial Industrial Bank . The company will use the funds to expand its electronic component procurement fulfillment business in China. Already a leading company in the rapidly growing field of electronic component supply chain management services in China (import, buffer inventory, procurement fulfillment, VMI, just-in-time delivery, export and other services), SinoHub will use these funds to propel itself into a dominant position in this field.

StreetBee Acquires JamJunky; Rebrands as GetYourGrooveOn
StreetBee has acquired JamJunky, a music composition review service. CN reviewed the service when it launched three months ago and JamJunky added a Facebook application in July. CN described JamJunky as, ‘Basically JamJunky is a way for you to upload your own authored music and get feedback from your friends and other song writers to help perfect your songs.’

Google reveals stake in Chinese social Web site
Google revealed on Monday that it had acquired a stake in Chinese community Web site, indicating a foray by the global search leader into social networking in the world’s second-largest Internet market.

Global Grind’s Pageflakes Clone Raises $4.5M in Series A RoundGlobal Grind, the niche start page for hip-hop news and information, has raised $4.5 million in a Series A round of funding. The round was led by Accel Ventures. New York-based Global Grind was founded by three creators of 360hiphop, which is a social network which was acquired by BET Interactive.
The Filter Brings Home $5M in Second Round of Funding
The Filter, a UK-based music recommendation company, has received $5 million in a second round of funding. Peter Gabriel has led the round, along with Eden Ventures, with both parties participating in the first round of funding, bringing the grand total to $6.8 million.

TripAdvisor Reportedly Acquires Where I’ve Been for $3 Million
In what is by far the largest Facebook application acquisition to date, travel company TripAdvisor has reportedly acquired Where I’ve Been from Craig Ulliott for $3 million. The acquisition marks the first major successful exit of a Facebook application since the Platform launched just under three months ago. With 2.3 million users, Where I’ve Been established itself as by far the biggest travel application on Facebook, leading #2 Cities I’ve Visited (also TripAdvisor owned) by over 1 million users.

Kongregate Closes $5 Million Series A For Casual Gaming
Casual gaming community Kongregate has closed a $5 million series A round led by Greylock today. This is on top of a $1 million angel round they raised from Reid Hoffman, Joe Kraus, Jeff Clavier and Richard Wolpert, among others. The casual gaming category consists of all those addictive online flash games that often distract you during your downtime (remember desktop tower defense?). James Slavet of Greylock pegs the casual game market at $500 million and expects it to grow even larger.

MTVN Acquires Another LGBT Network
MTV Networks has acquired DowneLink, a multicultural, LGBTQ (Lesbian / Gay / Bisexual / Transgender / Questioning) social networking site. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed. DowneLink has a reported 400,000 members, more than 72% of which are African-American, Asian or Latino, making it a good buy for MTVN, which seems to be broadening its scope of LGBT sites and demographics.

YFonGlobal Acquiring Splinternet Holdings
YFonGlobal, the turn key, white label solution for social networks and their necessary platforms, has begun the process of acquiring Splinternet Holdings, the developer of Internet telephony products and services. The financials of the deal were not disclosed, but the deal is scheduled to close within the next two months.

SocialMedia Raises $1M for Facebook App Network
SocialMedia, the aforementioned Facebook apps and MySpace widgets company that will combine hosting, promotion and an ad network, has raised $1 million in funding in a round led by CRV Ventures, SoftTech VC and the Hitforge seed fund.

Doppelganger Gets $11M in New Funding
Doppelgagner, the company that offers programmed virtual worlds for the teen demographic, has raised $11 million in funding, led by new investor ComVentures, and existing investors Draper Fisher Jurveston, Trident Capital, Draper Richards, KPG Ventures and Greycroft Partners. That brings the grand total to $25 million.

Diet Television Trims Name, Takes $2 Million
Later this week, weight loss community Diet Television will announce it’s shortened its name to and raised a $2 million series A. The round was led by MentorTech Ventures.

Kontera closes second round, faces competition by Vibrant Media and LinkedWords
Kontera, an Israel-based startup (officially headquartered in San Francisco), is raising $10.3 Million second round from Sequoia and other investors. It seems that the ad networks online are very hot these past months after the major acquisitions done by Google, Microsoft, AOL and others.

VOIP Startup Fring Raises $12 Million Series B
Israeli-based VOIP start-up Fring has closed an estimated $12 million second round, led by US VC fund North Bridge Venture Partners. VenFin and previous investors Pitango, Veritas and Yossi Vardi also participated. If the investment estimate is accurate, it would be one of the larger rounds for a VOIP company.

Technology Blog Xconomy Funded
Xconomy, a Boston-area-based technology and news blog, has received funding in a Series A round, led by CommonAngels. CommonAngels is an investment group in Lexington, MA, and it contributed funds from its investment pool as well as individual members. The financial terms were not disclosed.

CyclingTV Acquired by JumpTVJumpTV, an online video aggregator, has acquired CyclingTV for around $4.95 million, which is broken down into $2.21 million in cash, and $2.74 million in common stock, to be issued later this year.

The NBC and News Corp. joint venture Gets $100M in Funding
The NBC and News Corp. joint venture, which has been dubbed the YouTube Killer, has received $100 million in funding from Rhode Island-based investment firm Providence Equity Partners.

Pay Per Call Company VoiceStar Acquired by Marchex
Pay per call advertising service VoiceStar has been acquired by local advertising company Marchex. Marchex total anticipated investment to acquire VoiceStar will be $28 million, consisting of approximately $20 million in transaction consideration and $8 million in company investment.

Blockbuster Desperate To Do Something, Buys A Loser
Blockbuster announced the acquisition of movie download site Movielink this evening. The price is not being disclosed (meaning it isn’t ‘material’ to Blockbuster’s shareholders), although the Wall Street Journal says it was less than $20 million.

Pickle Purchased For $4.1 Million
Photo and video-sharing site has been purchased by Scripps Networks for a reported $4.1 million. Scripps is the company behind many lifestyles brands like DIY, the Food Network, HGTV, and Great American Country. This is their second web purchase after Recipezaar last month.

JS-Kit Closes $1.2 Million Seed Round
Web widget provider JS-Kit has been doing a lot of growing up since starting as a simple commenting widget, founder Lev Walkin’s pet project in his off hours. Since then, that single widget has grown into a company with the addition of CEO Kris Loux, 12 engineers from Filmloop, and today’s $1.2 million round of financing led by the Entrepreneur’s Fund III.

Scrybe Closes Series A
Scrybe, the online/offline calendar and organizer, has closed their series A round of financing from Adobe Systems Incorporated and LMKR. In what is becoming an annoying trend, the company is not disclosing the size of the round.

Kaboodle Acquired by Hearst Magazines
Kaboodle, the social shopping site that looked like a better fit for eBay than a media conglomerate, has been acquired by Hearst Corporation for an undisclosed amount. Kaboodle had taken $5 million in first round funding from 10 investors including Ron Conway.

Acquisition for Clipmarks
New York based Clipmarks, a social bookmarking service, may have been acquired by Forbes. We have no information on the size of the transaction, but my guess is that it was on the very low side. The service allows users to bookmark all or a portion of a web page and annotate it.

Amie Street Closes Series A Financing Led By
Social music marketplace Amie Street has closed a Series A round of financing led by, along with some new partnerships and a site redesign. The amount of Amazon’s investment and the terms are not disclosed.

Worldwide Biggies Funded by NBC and Hearst
Worldwide Biggies, a digital entertainment studio headed by former Nickelodeon and Spike TV President Albie Hecht, has closed a $9 million Series A round of funding. The round was led by NBC Universal and Platform Equity, also getting a large chunk of that change from Hearst Corporation, Alan Patricoft’s Greycroft Partners and Prism Venture works.

Insightful Corporation Sells InFactInsightful Corporation (NASDAQ: IFUL), announced today the sale of its InFact search technology and associated intellectual property rights to Hypertext Solutions Inc. for $3.65 million in cash. Hypertext is a Seattle-based startup company focused on making information on the web more ‘intelligent’. The transaction closed today.

College Boy Stalwart eBaum’s World Bought For $17.5M
Today San Francisco-based HandHeld Entertainment says it is acquiring Rochester, NY-based eBaum’s World. HandHeld said it will pay $17.5M for eBaum’s World ($15M in cash, $2.5M in stock, and $2.5M in stock with a one-year hold back.) The company also said that it may pay up to $32.5M in earnouts over three years to the owner’s of eBaum’s world.

Online Travel White Labeler EZRez Raises $15M
EzRez was founded in 2002 in Honolulu, Hawaii where it built a white label system for regional airlines, wholesalers, rental car companies, hotels, activity providers and more. Today the company raised $15M led by Canaan Partners with Azure Capital Partners and existing investors.

Content Personalization Widget Maker Minekey Raises First $3M
Sunnyvale, CA-based Minekey has raised $3M in Series A funding for their personalized news recommendation widget. The funding round was led by NEA IndoUS Ventures, which had previously invested $600K in a seed round.

Stealth Mode TuneUp Media Raises VC Funding To Help You Manage Your Music FilesGabe Adiv, who previously worked the biz dev levers at Gracenote, has a new startup in stealth mode called TuneUp Media, that he claims has raised VC funding. What problem will the startup address? Our digital music lives are too complex the company finds and needs a better system.

Associated Content Raises $10M For Crowd-sourced NewsNYC-based Associated Content has raised $10M in a 2nd round from Canaan Partners. The company is slightly controversial because of the backing of Google sales exec Tim Armstrong who invested in the company’s first $5.4M round and is back in at this round along with Softbank.

Streetline Funded For Smart Cities Tech
Streetline has completed pilot projects and studies for Los Angeles and San Francisco. The LA project has learned that despite two-hour time limits, the average driver stays parked for four hours. In San Francisco, Streetline learned that only 5.4% of parking violations in San Francisco receive tickets. Streetline has raised $250K+ so far from individual investors including Internet pioneer Gordon Bell and it is planning a Series A round. They indicate on job postings that they have raised venture capital so that round may be closed but the company has not responded to confirm.

DecisionView Announces $7 Million in Series C Investment
DecisionView, Inc., the leading provider of business performance optimization applications for the Life Sciences industry, today announced the close of a $7 million Series C round of funding led by new investor, firstVentury, as well as existing investors Partech International and Granite Ventures.

Accoona Files for IPO
Internet company Accoona Corp. filed Friday for an initial public offering of its common stock. The Jersey City, N.J.-based company said it expects to use proceeds from the offering for research and development, business expansion and general corporate purposes. Accoona may also use a portion of the proceeds to acquire or invest in complementary companies and technologies.

SEM Firm iCrossing Buys Web Builder Proxicom
Arizona-based SEM giant iCrossing has acquired Proxicom for an un-disclosed amount from Gores Technology. The deal was financed by a funding round last week by iCrossing where it raised $62M from Goldman Sachs and some VC firms.

Compete Ups Ante With $10M In Funding
Today Compete has raised another round of funding at $10M in Series III funding from return backers Charles River Ventures, idealab, Split Rock Partners and William Blair Capital Partners. Compete has raised $43M since 2000.

Disney Acquires Club Penguin For Up To $700 million
Club Penguin, a social network / virtual world that has been on the market for some time, was acquired by The Walt Disney Company and announced today. An earlier deal with Sony fell apart over valuation and Club Penguin’s policy of donating a substantial portion of profits to charity. The company, which launched in October 2005, has 700,000 current paid subscribers and 12 million activated users, primarily in the U.S. and Canada.

Discovery Acquires For $10millionDiscovery Communications has announced the acquisition of for what is believed to be $10 million. started as an environmentally focused blog in 2004 and grew to include forums, green guides and other related features. The site sits in the Top 20 blogs worldwide according to Technorati and is said to have 1.4 million unique visitors a month. Alexa ranks the site at 5,395.

PayScale Gets $10.3M in Series C Round of Funding
PayScale is an online service that lets you know how you compare to others that do the same job as you. It’s just raised another $1.5 million in a Series C round of funding, led by SAP Ventures. This closes the round at $10.3 million. Previous investors include Allen & Co., Corporate Executive Board, Trinity Ventures, Madrona Venture Group, Fluke Venture Partners and Buerk Dale Victor.

Vringo Raises $12M in Series B Funding
Vringo, the video ringtone provider, has closed on a $12 million Series B round of venture capital funding. The round was led by Warburg Pincus, a global equity firm. The funding will be used to take Vringo around the world, as it expands markets in the US, Europe and Asia.
Curse Raises $5M in Series A for MMOG NetworkCurse, the gaming portal, has received $5 million in a Series A round of funding. The round was led by a French venture capital firm AGF Private Equity, and some angel investors participated as well. The MMOG company already raised about $800,000 in funding from angel investors prior to this Series A round.

Via EPR Network Blog

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Is the next is a well known search engine project basically a spin off from Vivisimo. Vivisimo on the other hand was founded in 2000 by three Carnegie Mellon University scientists who decided to tackle the problem of information overload in web search. Rather than focusing just on search engine result ranking, they thought that grouping results into topics, or "clustering," made for better search and discovery.

Clusty in general is a word derived from clustering, in our best guess, and the search engine itself became popular with its function to cluster the web, basically explained. Yet it is know that Clusty queries several top search engines which in its basic means a metasearch, i.e. no own index.

Initially planned to take on Google (Carnegie Mellon University vs. Stanford) Clusty seems did not make it at all and failed to gain the basic popularity necessary to rank among the first 10 search engines in terms of market share. The latest phrase seen in the public about Clusty is: “It (Vivisimo) also has a consumer search engine, Clusty, that allows Web browsers to query several search engines at once.”

On the other hand their clustering technology is considered pretty good one but seemingly other start ups are working on similar ideas, one of them, is NosyJoe -- a small start up search engine -- that is taking the content clustering to the next level.

NosyJoe is still in private beta, however, it was mentioned in NYT this last June and since then the project gained some traction among the search experts on web.

Basically NosyJoe extracts the meaningful sentences, phrases and keywords from the content submitted by the users. It then makes the information pretty much meaningfully searchable, web visible and findable and also clusters it into contextual channels and tags and applies a set of algorithms and user patterns to further ranking, mashing and sharing.

From our quick tests on the site the search results returned were presented in form of meaningful sentences and contextual phrasal tags (as an option), which turns their search results into -- something I have never seen on web so far -- neat content components, readable and easily understandable sentences as search results unlike what we are all used to, some excerpts from the content where the keyword is found in. When compared to other search engines’ results’s ones appear truly meaningful. You can check it out for yourself, we have submitted the about page of Clusty to NosyJoe and here is what the site shows it has for the’s domain:

Another search query done in NosyJoe for Clusty yielded pretty good meaningful results too:

Another start up search engine known to be playing in the clustering arena is Quintura, a US based company started out by Russians.

So is really the next clustering engine or it is yet another social search experiment.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Hot end of July on the web 2.0 scene

Action Engine Raises $20 Million
Mobile applications developer Action Engine has raised $20 million in new round led by Baker Capital. Previous investors Northwest Venture Associates and The Spangler Group also participated in the round. The company develops mobile device software that allows media companies and mobile operators to provide music , video and other content on mobiles.

Alibaba confirms IPO
China’s biggest e-commerce company Alibaba has submitted its first initial public offering (IPO) application to the listing committee of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and may become the largest high-tech share on the Hong Kong bourse. Alibaba’s Chairman Jack Ma confirmed the news in the company’s annual meeting over the weekend. Tao Ran, a company spokesman, said there was no timetable for the market listing and also declined to disclose any details of the IPO.

Scribd Competitor Gets Angel Funding
Docstoc , the online document exchange community, has reportedly raised an undisclosed amount of angel funding , and may prove to be a Scribd competitor. The site is still in private beta. With Docstoc, you can share any document type, from Word, to PDF and Illustrator.

Boo-box Gets $300K for Contextual Ads Service
Boo-box , the contextual marketing company, has raised $300,000 in a round of seed funding , led by Monashees Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm. The funds will be used for product development and expansion of the Brazil-based company.

Big Hedge Fund Investment in Zazzle
Silicon valley based Zazzle will be closing a second round of financing in the $30 million range, at a $300+ million pre-money valuation. The round is expected to be led by an as-yet-unnamed hedge fund.

Reid Hoffman invests in
The company which has raised $3.5 million in Series A funding from Matrix Partners, is also the latest investment by Reid Hoffman, godfather of Web 2.0 start-ups , and also co-founder of LinkedIn., a Waltham, MA.-based outfit that connects families to ‘qualified care givers with a national network of trusted providers.’

NowPublic Gets $10.6 Million For Crowd Sourced News
‘Crowd sourced’ news network has closed a $10.6 milion series A round of financing led by Rho Ventures with seed investors Brightspark and the Working Opportunity Fund participating. Crowd sourcing is part of the widely expanding ‘ citizen journalism ‘ category, which encompasses all the new ways non-professionals can participate in the news reporting process.

BuddyTV Gets $2.8M for Fan Site
BuddyTV , the online television informational community, has raised about $2.8 million in a Series A round of funding , with Gemstar-TV Guide International leading the round. The site lets you create a profile listing your favorite shows and actors.

CoolIris Gets $1M of its $3M Series A Round
CoolIris , the link preview service , has secured about $1 million of a $3.05 million Series A round of funding . The round was led by Kleiner Perkins Caufiled & Byers. Randy Komisar, a partner at Kleiner Perkins, has also taken a seat on CoolIris’ board.

3Jam Nabs $4M in Series B Funding
3Jam , the text messaging service, has raised $4 million in a Series B round of funding . The round was led by Norwest Venture Partners, and return investors New Enterprise Associates and NetService Ventures also participated.

MediaWhiz Buys AuctionAds
Performance marketing company MediaWhiz has snatched up eBay affiliate marketing service AuctionAds , which launched back in March. The price was not disclosed. AuctionAds is an advertising widget that serves contextually relevant eBay auctions based on tags supplied by the publisher.

Wikia Acquires Grub from Looksmart
As part of their ongoing quest to create an open, people-powered search platform, Wikia has acquired Grub, a ditributed web crawling technology , from Looksmart, Wikia co-founder Jimmy Wales announced this morning during his keynote address at the at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention in Portland, Oregon.

Microsoft Acquires Advertising Exchange Platform AdECN
Microsoft announced today that it had agreed to acquire AdECN , an advertising exchange platform company based near Santa Barbara. AdECN offers a real-time, auction-based, neutral exchange for online display advertising that works in a similar way to stock exchanges. A member of the AdECN exchange buys on the exchange for its advertisers and sells on the exchange for its publishers.

Twitter Gets Their Venture Round
Twitter has raised a round of financing , led by Union Square Ventures. The size of the round has not been disclosed (yet), but additional investors include Charles River Ventures, Marc Andreessen, Dick Costolo, Ron Conway, and Naval Ravikant. The service, which has around 300,000 users, has grown rapidly in recent months. Pownce, Kyte and others are competitors.

Family-friendly social networking start-up lands VC, will hire 4
CircleBuilder , a family-friendly church-oriented social networking site , has raised $800,000 from Great Lakes Angels and other venture capital organizations. CEO and co-founder Howard Brown currently runs the start-up from his Franklin home, having relocated to the area from Silicon Valley to be closer to family. Sells for $350 Million has closed another chapter in its long journey from a $7.5 million million domain name bought on a hope and a prayer, selling to RH Donnelley for $350 million ( WSJ reporting up to $360 million). RH Donnelley beat out Dow Jones and the New York Times during the bidding . Lands $5 million
Event based social network has taken an additional $5 million in funding , in a round led by the sites original investors General Catalyst Partners and Highland Capital Partners.

Grockit Raises Cash, Prepares ‘Massive Multiplayer Online Learning’ Product.
When we last wrote about San Francisco based Grockit , in late 2006, they were unfunded. Their business idea of holding low-cost GMAT prep courses over Webex was just getting off the ground. Now they are funded - $2.7 million total ($2.3 million from Benchmark, $400k from angel investors Mark Pincus, Rob Lord, Reid Hoffman Thomas Ryan and others) in a Series A round was closed last month. And they are changing their model completely.

Respectance Gets $1.5 Million
Respectance , which is unique among social networks since it’s dedicated to remembering those who have died, has taken $1.5 million in a series A funding in a round led by Solid Ventures and Big Bang Ventures. The site also launches officially today, and says it has taken funding at a ‘pre-user’ stage.

GuildCafe Raises Funding for MMORPG Network
GuildCafe has raised an undisclosed amount of venture capital funding from IDG Ventures Boston. The service that enables groups to build websites for gamers to find friends and new game content launched late last year, and has done well to create a hub for people that are heavily involved with MMORPGs like World of Warecraft, Guild Wars and Lord of the Rings Online. Users can connect with each other through their gaming avatars and form groups (guilds) that can move between virtual worlds together.

AOL Gets Its Ad Network
We hear that AOL will announce the acquisition of New York-based Tacoda this morning, a behavior targeting advertising company that was founded in 2001. The deal size, which we haven’t had confirmed, is likely far smaller than Microsoft’s $6 billion for aQuantive , Yahoo’s $680 million for RightMedia , or Google’s $3.1 billion for DoubleClick . The price might be low enough that it isn’t being disclosed at all.

UGO Acquired By Hearst, Should Be Announced Today
We got a tip earlier this evening that Hearst acquired New-York based UGO and will announce the deal tomorrow. It sounds like Forbes got a tip as well, and a better one: they’re saying the price should be around $100 million . UGO is a popular new media site that was founded in 1997 and, according to Forbes, is generating around $30 million/year in revenue.

Nokia acquires Twango
Nokia and Twango today announced that Nokia has acquired substantially all assets of Twango ( Twango provides a comprehensive media sharing solution for organizing and sharing photos, videos and other personal media. By acquiring Twango, Nokia will be able to offer people an easy way to share multimedia content through their desktop and mobile devices.

HP Acquires Opsware For $1.6 billion
HP has acquired IT Automation company Opsware for $1.6 billion. Whilst any acquisition of this size is interesting in itself, the back story to Opsware is even more so; Opsware was originally LoudCloud, a Web 1.0 company that took $350 million in funding during the Web 1.0 boom.

Cfares Raises $4.5M & Offers New Comparison Tools
Cfares , the airfare search tool, has announced a round $4.5 million of venture capital and has appointed a few new members to its team. The round was led by Claremont Creek Ventures, with previous investor Garage Technology Ventures partnering as well.

Google Acquires Image America for Aerial Imaging Tech
Google’s acquisition spree continued today with the announcement that they’ve purchased Image America , a company that builds ‘high resolution cameras for the collection of aerial imagery ‘. The Clayton, MO-based company provided high resolution black and white imagery of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and supplied imagery to Google Maps and Google Earth.

hi5 Takes $20 Million Funding
San Francisco-based social network hi5 has taken $20 million in funding in a round led by Mohr Davidow Ventures. The site reports 30 million members and 200 million pageviews/day, making it one of the largest players. So why the lack of hype?

FaceBook’s First Acquisition: Parakey
Their first acquisition : Facebook has bought Parakey , the yet-to-launch ‘ web operating system ‘ created by Firefox co-founders Blake Ross and Joe Hewitt. The price isn’t being disclosed, but Facebook should be issuing a press release this afternoon.

Loopt Calls Down $2.25M of a $12M Series B Round of Funding
Loopt , the service that lets you geo-locate friends with mobile phones, has called down $2.25 million of a $12 million Series B round of financing . This means that while Loopt has raised $12 million, its requested access to $2.25 of this larger amount, possibly to increase its working capital costs.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Deals within the web 2.0 sector for the first half of July

$15 Million For Shopping Search TheFind
Mountain View based shopping search site TheFind has raised another $15 million in a third round of venture capital , bringing their total capital raised to $26 million. Bain Capital Ventures led the round.

Redfin Takes $12 Million Series C Financing Amid Realtor War
Seattle-based Redfin, a real estate website that allows users to bypass most of the fees associated with using real estate brokers, has closed a $12 million Series C round of financing . This is on top of the approximately $8 million they raised in their previous two rounds. The round was led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Previous investors Madrona Venture Group, Vulcan Capital, BEV Capital and The Hillman Company also participated

TVtrip’s Multimedia Hotel Directory Gets $4.8 Million
A month after launch, TVtrip has secured another round of financing from Benchmark’s European Branch, Balderton, and Partech, which will be announced tomorrow. Along with the financing they’ve also expanded their directory of hotel videos and added some more travel executives to their board.

Jupitermedia Corporation buys
Laurel Touby turned her popular cocktail parties into a high-traffic Web site for job-seeking media and creative professionals. Yesterday, she sold, the company that sprang from those mixers, for $23 million. The Jupitermedia Corporation, an Internet research company that also sells photos and art, agreed to pay $20 million in cash and an additional $3 million over two years for the company, which is based in New York City.

Google to Buy Web Security Company for $625M
Google on Monday acquired e-mail security company Postini for $625 million, a move intended to attract more large businesses to Google Apps. More than 1,000 small businesses and universities currently use Google Apps, but ‘there has been a significant amount of interest from large businesses,’ Dave Girouard, vice president and general manager of Google Enterprise, said in a Monday teleconference.

Jamendo Gets Cash for Creative Commons Music
Online music has been one of the most tumultuous categories online. Ever since Napster launched in the late 90’s, the music industry has been scrambling for a new model. DRM was once thought the industry’s saving grace, but consumer frustrations and movements from big players like Apple have reversed the trend. Some are even streaming it for free. They just closed their series A round of funding from Mangrove Capital Partners today for an undisclosed sum.

ValueClick Acquires Comparison Shopping Operator MeziMedia For Up To $352million
ValueClick has acquired MeziMedia for up to $352 million, in a deal consisting of $100million in upfront in cash, with an additional sum of up to $252 million to be paid depending on MeziMedia’s revenue and earnings performance through to 2009. has purchased
Question and answer reference site has acquired’s parent company, Lexico Publishing, for $100 million in cash. Lexico can really serve all your lexical needs because it also owns and The deal is expected to close later this fall.

Connectbeam Lands $3.5million Series A
Social networking for the enterprise startup Connectbeam has closed a $3.5million Series A round lead by Gabriel Ventures and Startup Capital Ventures. Connectbeam social software for business provides a corporate focused product that includes support for social bookmarking , social networking, live profiles, project spaces and intranet search integration.

Healthline Get’s $21 Million and Some New Friends
Healthline has dipped it’s hand into a $21 million series B financing led by GE/NBC Universal’s Peacock Equity Fund, a joint venture between GE Commercial Finance’s Media, Communications & Entertainment business and NBC Universal. This is on top of their $14 million round last January. The round also includes smaller investments from Aetna Ventures, LLC, Kaiser Permanente Ventures, U.S. News and World Report, and previous investors VantagePoint Venture Partners and Reed Elsevier Ventures.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Promising start-up search engines according to NYT

NYT has just published a comprehensive article focused on a dozen of innovative and promising start up search engines that may loosen Google’s grip.

According New York Times the next Google could probably raise from the names listed below:

We think that only the time will tell us who will be the big winner at the end of the day, but whatever the case is any of the above search engines may get acquired soon or later for at least $100M, which, in our feeling, is the main goal of these start ups. NYT also mentions that just 1% share of today’s search market does worth around $1B, which somehow justifies the price tag set forth above. In our view with best chances for the crown are any of the above start-ups, yet and sound most appealing to us.

Read more…

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Deals within the web 2.0 sector for June 5 - 13

Lijit to Close on $3.3M in Second Round of Funding
Lijit , the personal network search tool, reportedly has plans to close on a $3.3 million venture round this month. The company had already raised $900,000 in venture capital and angel funds earlier this year (covered here ), with investors including Colorado Fund, Brad Feld, Seth Goldstein and Paul Berberian. It also landed a partnership with Feedburner to provide search services for Feedburner’s network.

Kyte Gets Investment from Nokia
Kyte , the video-sharing and distribution site, has received investment from Nokia Growth Partners for an undisclosed amount. See our initial review of Kyte here . The deal hits at an upcoming mobile distribution strategy for the video content, which is designed to offer more control from the user and a way of broadcasting multimedia content across the web.

PodZinger, Now EveryZing, Raises $10M in Funding
PodZinger, the search engine for podcasts and videos, has been renamed EveryZing, and has raised $10 million in funding led by Fairhavent Capital, Accel and General Catalyst, bringing the company’s total funding amount to $15 million.

Rifftrax Acquires Cuts
About four months since launch , web video editor has been acquired by Rifftrax, a site featuring DVD commentary by Michael J. Nelson of MST3K . No word on the price. The online video editing space has become increasingly competitive. recently joined the deadpool , with plans to reorganize.

Openads Opensource project Raises $5 million
Openads , the developer of a popular seven year old opensource ad server , have spun out of London based ad network Unanimis and raised $5 million in capital to fund their business. The round was led by Index Ventures, with participation from First Round Capital, Mangrove Capital Partners, and O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures. Index Ventures’ Saul Klein joined the company’s board of directors. Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital also mentioned their investment it on his personal blog.

Team and Concepts Raises $1.25million Series A
Team and Concepts Limited , the Hong Kong based company behind online spreadsheet service EditGrid , has announced a $1.25 million Series A investment from the WI Harper Group . WI Harper’s previous investments include Laszlo Systems and Maxthon.

Me.dium Lands $15M in Funding
Me.dium , the social browser add-on, has raised $15 million in a second round of funding , bringing its funding to total $20 million, and coming from Commonwealth Capital Ventures, Spark Capital, Appian Ventures, Brad Feld and Elon Musk. Read here for our initial review.

ESPN acquires Cricinfo website
Leading cricket website Cricinfo has been acquired by ESPN as part of the US broadcaster’s push to grow its global presence in online sports reporting. The site, much loved by statistics-obsessed cricket fans across the world, has been bought from The Wisden Group, publishers of the sport’s ‘bible’ the annual Wisden Cricketers Almanac, for an undisclosed fee.

PayPerPost Raises $7 million More
Controversial pay-per-post startup PayPerPost has raised $7 million in a second round of financing , bringing their total raised capital to just over $10 million. Like their previous round from last October the financing was led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson, with participation from Inflexion Partners and Village Ventures. New investor DFJ Gotham, a fund affiliated with Draper Fisher Jurvetson, also participated.

PermissionTV Gets $9M in Third Round of Funding
PermissionTV , an online video platform for creating branded Internet television channels, has closed on its third round of funding for $9 million. The round was led by Castile Ventures and Point Judith Capital. Existing investors include Common Angels, CramerOnline, inflection Point Investors, the Massachusetts Technology Development Corp., SAS Investors and the Venture Capital Fund of New England, bringing the total amount raised for PermissionTV to $18 million.

CBS Invests in TicketReserve, Plans to Integrate On and Offline
CBS has announced its investment in TicketReserve , the online marketplace offering consumers the option to purchase advanced tickets to events at face value. TicketReserve lets you buy tickets for a specific team, artist or event, guaranteeing them the ability to get tickets at face-value, with a FanForward reservation.

ThisNext Raises Round of Venture Debt
ThisNext , the shopping and discovery website, has raised a round of venture debt for an undisclosed amount. The round was backed by Western Technology, Inc. See our initial review of ThisNext here . This round of funding will go directly towards an extension prior to the company’s Series B funding in the fall, giving ThisNext a better position to boost valuation in preparation of raising additional funds.

MeetMoi Gets $1.5M in Funding
MeetMoi , the mobile dating site , has raised $1.5 million in funding in its first round of financing .The funding was provided by Acadia Woods Partners. MeetMoi is a service that operates in a similar manner to Dodgeball or Rabble , where you can find someone in your local proximity to meet up with you right now. But with MeetMoi, you can find a date, not just an existing friend.

Amazon May Be Looking To Acquire Netflix
Netflix stock jumped up 5.66% today on rumors that the company may be in acquisition talks with by Amazon. The funny thing about public company rumors: when they affect stock prices, it becomes AP-reported news…

FameCast Raises $4.5M in Funding
FameCast , the online talent show , has raised $4.5 million in funding from Austin Ventures. FameCast hands out $10,000 in cash prizes to the winner of each of its twelve ’stage’ contests, spanning art genres such as spoken word, animation, and stand-up comedy, along with the expected music categories for Pop, Country , R&B, etc. Contestants submit videos of their work to their respected ’stage’. Users vote for who they like best, and the contests last for an entire ’season’. FameCast’s recent funding will go towards expanding its marketing efforts in the U.S. and around the world.

PeakStream Trail Leads To Google
Google’s acquisitions are usually pretty smooth deals; at most, a ‘welcome, Google!’ statement shows up on the lucky company’s homepage. Now, a report indicates that PeakStream has been bought by Google, yet the company no longer even has a front page - the whole site is gone.

Scribd Banks $3.5 Million from Redpoint
Scribd , dubbed the ‘YouTube for Documents’, was the dark horse of their Y Combinator class, but the social document sharing site now gives its critics pause to think. Since launching, traffic to the site scaled quickly to 75-100,000 uniques per day with a little help from popular link aggregation sites like Digg. This past month they logged 1.73 million unique visitors. Today Kinsey Hills is back, investing another $210,000 alongside $3.5 million from Redpoint, with Geoffrey Yang joining the company’s board.

VCs re-up SocialText
SocialText, a startup that makes collaborative wiki platforms for enterprises, has raised $3 million toward a $6.5 million Series C venture financing , according to a regulatory filing. The company is backed by Draper Fisher Jurvetson, SAP and the Omidiyar Network, from which it has already raised $3 million in its Series B. Other backers include tech executives Mark Pincus, CEO of which sold the majority of its assets to Cisco earlier this year, Reid Hoffman, the Chairman of LinkedIn.

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