Ex-Google Ads boss’ search engine startup raises $40 million

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Neeva, a search engine startup led by former Google Ads boss Sridhar Ramaswamy, raised $40m in Series B funding co-led by Sequoia Capital and Greylock.

Why is this important: Venture capitalists often ask founders, “Why wouldn’t Google just create this and crush you?” In this case, the founder goes directly into Google’s core business.

Details: Neeva is currently in beta with several thousand users and eventually plans to unveil a personalized, ad-free search experience. Expect it to be on a paid subscription basis, probably with a free trial period.

Story: Google itself only raised $35 million in total venture capital funding before going public in 2004, including from Sequoia Capital. Ramaswamy tells Axios that today’s search challenges are much more daunting, given user expectations for scale and location.

The bottom line:

“I don’t feel any animosity towards Google or the people I’ve worked with. They’re great people. But I think it’s good for people to change their minds on important matters. [like data privacy]and research being a monoculture is a terrible outcome for all of us… Applications are important, but research is the gateway.”

— Sridhar Ramaswamy, CEO of Neeva and Partner of Greylock


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