Swiftype, a Y Combinator startup that creates search engines for websites, has raised $1.7 million in seed funding from Andreessen Horowitz, NEA, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Ignition and several angel investors.
Co-founders Matt Riley and Quin Hoxie tell me the funding will go to developing products to improve mobile search and branding for the company. Riley says Swiftype wants to turn the search box into a strong marketing tool by offering customization and analytics. The team is also working on a tool to show what is trending on the search engine, so users can direct visitors to related content.
“With Swiftype, we’ve made it really simple to figure out what your users are searching for, what they’re searching for and not finding, and we give you the tools on the backend to make changes to the search engine itself,” Riley says.
The company’s main competition comes from enterprise search software companies like Attivio and Endeca. Hoxie says the biggest competitor in e-commerce is Endeca, which serves companies such as Ford, Boeing and Hallmark.
However, he tells me while Endeca requires multiple servers and added physical capacity, Swiftype’s search is all done through its API. This allows Swiftype to scale search automatically and add users much faster.
Hoxie says the biggest challenge going forward will be bringing exposure to the brand, because most people have either accepted mediocre search engines or want to build a solution themselves.
“Search has been so bad historically that it’s this thing that everyone kind of hates,” he tells me. “There’s potential in that search box both in how you can return better results to users, but also what you can learn from your users and how they are interacting with that search box.”
Swiftype has grown to 70,000 users that generate more than 130 million queries every month. Prices range from $20 to $300, with custom packages for enterprise solutions.
Angel investors include Sam Altman, SV Angel, Alexis Ohanian, Paul Buchheit, Start Fund, Garry Tan, Harj Taggar, Jared Friedman and Trip Adler, Tikhon Bernstam and CrunchFund (where TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington is a partner).