SearchMe Searching For A Buyer

We’ve known that that visual search engine SearchMe has been looking for a new round of financing these last few months. But from what we hear they aren’t having a lot of luck closing that financing – something was on the table, our sources say, but fell through. As an alternative strategy, they’ve approached a number of possible buyers to see if they can close an acquisition of the company or its technology, multiple sources have confirmed. If a buyer can’t be found quickly, the site may shut down.

The search engine first launched in March 2008, and has raised around $44 million in venture capital. Sequoia Capital has backed them from the start, beginning with a $400,000 seed round in 2005.

SearchMe has an innovative visual approach to search that lets users scroll through screen snapshots quickly. It is particularly appealing on the iPhone, and has been one of my favorite apps since launching late last year. It’s something that is just perfect for a mobile device with a large touchscreen.

Here’s SearchMe on the iPhone:

Sadly traffic to SearchMe’s main site never really took off. It grew fairly respectably to 1.8 million monthly unique visitors in March (comscore worldwide), but much of that traffic was generated from paid traffic (which was freely admitted by the company). When the marketing ended, traffic dipped to about 600,000 unique visitors in May. For more traffic data see Quantcast, which is directly measuring their traffic.

Update: SearchMe may shut down as early as tomorrow.