U.K.-based Mobile Search Company Taptu Raises $10 Million, Hires COO

U.K.-based Taptu, which is developing a mobile search engine, has raised about $10 million (6.45 million pounds) in a second round of funding. Participating in the round were existing investors 3i and Sofinnova. In total, the company has now raised 11.45 million pounds. In addition, the company appointed Andreas Bernstrom to the position of COO. Bernstrom, who has been working part-time with the company for almost six months, said the funding will go towards increasing its userbase and figuring out how best to monetize the search engine. The company, which was founded in 2007, launched its first mobile search service in February, and now claims about 1 million searches on a daily basis on its Wap site worldwide. Bernstrom will be charged with growing the number of searches, and forming partnerships with carriers and other mobile sites.

The company, which has 40 employees, will face stiff competition from companies like Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), but also from fairly established startups like Jumptap and Medio Systems. How will Taptu differentiate itself? Bernstrom: “That was the first question I asked as well. The guys have spent a great deal of time looking at what people use their mobile phones for, and how they engage with mobile phones, and what search will be used for if it’s over the mobile phone. It