Real-time search-as-a-service provider Algolia just raised $18.3 million with Accel Partners leading the round — Philippe Botteri will join the board. This represents some serious funding following Algolia’s $1.2 million second seed round. As a reminder, Algolia makes your website’s search box suck less. It feels like using OS X’s Spotlight feature on the web.
Moreover, Algolia is very easy to implement on your website as the company opted for a SaaS strategy. It means that you can implement the company’s search engine for database objects in just a few lines of code thanks to its hosted API, feed the service with JSON-formatted data, and customize it to your needs. After that, your users can start searching right away. They will interact with Algolia’s servers without ever leaving your site. With 12 different data centers across the world, Algolia tries to make the experience as responsive as possible for its users.
On most websites, search is a painful process. You don’t know what query you should type. When you hit enter, your browser takes you to a separate result page. Most of the time, what you were looking for is not even on this page. At this point, you reluctantly turn to Google and type your query followed by the name of the website you were browsing.
Comparing Algolia with other websites is night and day. With Algolia, you get a dropdown list of results after typing a few keystrokes. You can click on a result in a lot less time than it would take you to use Google. And it’s packed with features as well. Algolia handles popularity, geolocation data, tags, dates and more.
Whenever I get frustrated with a website’s search engine, I think about how Algolia would make it a lot better. Six hundred companies currently rely on Algolia, which represents more than four billion user-generated queries per month. Customers include CrunchBase, Genius.com, Vevo, Medium, WeWork, Teespring, Arc’teryx and Product Hunt.
Originally from France, the company is now headquartered in San Francisco. Existing investors Alven Capital, Point Nine Capital and Storm Ventures also participated in today’s round, as well as Lead Edge Capital, Parse’s Ilya Sukhar, Docker’s Solomon Hykes, Kevin Rose and Splunk’s Erik Swan. Today’s news means that the company will iterate more quickly on its product and look for new clients more aggressively.