Google Challenger Blekko Raises $11.5 Million; Still No Launch Date

Search startup Blekko — which contends that Google (NSDQ: GOOG) was built to index a version of the web that no longer exists — has raised $11.5 million in a round of funding from U.S. Venture Partners and CMEA Capital, we have confirmed. Blekko’s search engine remains in development. In early April, CEO Richard Skrenta said the search engine was about three months from launch, although marketing VP Mike Markson tells us the company does not have any updates on its expected launch date.
Blekko is in stealth mode and has not given out details on what its search engine will look like (The photo to the left is the only image on the Blekko home page). Describing the company’s approach in an interview earlier this year, Skrenta said, “What you see when you do a search — two, three, four words — is you see three or five websites above the fold and it’s the same answer for everyone so we thought gosh out of the entirety of human knowledge that’s posted online there must be something different you can see, some different way you can interact with the search tool.” Analyst Greg Sterling, who demoed the product, said it was “stripped down and spartan.”
Of course, being differentiated is not a guarantee of success in the search market, which is littered with other startups that tried to find an opening and failed (Just last week, visual search engine Searchme went offline and announced it would change strategies, only a year-and-a-half after it launched a beta). Skrenta has somewhat downplayed expectations for Blekko, saying “the goal is to find some people that you can deliver some utility to.”
Blekko had previously raised $5 million in two angel rounds. The latest funding was first reported earlier today by TechCrunch.