Powerset, a stealth search engine in Silicon Valley, announced Monday that it's secured $12.5 million in funding for a pre-money valuation north of $30 million. That means, Powerset co-founders Barney Pell, Lorenzo Thione, and Steve Newcomb gave away about 25% of their company, and not a third, like some writers have suggested. (Powerset closed the $10.5 million in the past month and raised a $2 mln bridge round in the spring.)
Powerset is a fantastic search engine that is sure to raise eyebrows at the old guard search engines, such as Google (goog), InterActiveCorp's (IACI) Ask.com, Microsoft's (msft) Live and Yahoo (yhoo). After having an in-depth demonstration of the search engine last week, I’m convinced that Powerset has a great shot at improving the overall search experience. By doing the Pepsi challenge between Powerset and other search engines, I have to say, searching was a far richer and liberating experience on Powerset. Essentially, Powerset provides semantic search. Current search engines find results based on occurrence and proximity of words in a document. Powerset is building an index that takes into account the meaning and relationship of words. Be sure to read my Net Sense commentary on MarketWatch that goes out Tuesday for my review.
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