Last October, at the Web 2.0 Launch Pad, the startup voted “Most Likely to Exit First” was CleverSet. Now three months later, CleverSet has sold itself to e-commerce software company Art Technology Group (ATG) for $10 million. It turns out to be a nice exit for CEO Todd Humphrey and founder Bruce D’Ambrosio, who built the company with about $3 million in capital and a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.
But it doesn’t quite live up to a lot of the hype surrounding “discovery” right now. CleverSet offers discovery and recommendation engines to e-commerce sites, using a statistical approach to making product matches. The Seattle-based startup competes with the likes of Aggregate Knowledge, Criteo, MyStrands, and ChoiceStream. The investors in those companies are expecting much larger exits. Criteo just raised $10 million in a venture round. And Aggregate Knowledge has raised $25 million.
By those measures, $10 million is either a steal, or discovery just isn’t the next search.