Retrevo offers gadget search engine; raises less than $1M

retrevologo.gifThere is a rolling thunder of new Silicon Valley Internet start-ups launching on funding of around $1 million or less.

The latest is Retrevo, a Sunnyvale search engine focused on research and other advice on consumer electronics. It has raised less than $1 million from Alloy Ventures.

You may try to call this a Web 2.0 bubble, but frankly, we don’t see any end to this. There is so much money around, these start-ups will keep coming.

Like other focused search engines, Retrevo has plausible survival odds if it manages to lodge itself in your brain as the place to go for a particular need. In Retrevo’s case, it wants to be the place you think of before your buy consumer electronics (TV, printer, DVD, iPod, etc), but also after you buy — to get help with troubleshooting, for example.

Retrevo is in a closed testing mode, but you can get to a trial page here until it goes live Wednesday at DEMO.

If you have say, a problem connecting your Sony camcorder to your TV, you can do this search, and Retrevo will give you search results that include a page directly from Sony’s guide book, in a preview section (see below for screen shot of another example)

It culls relevant information from manufacturer guide books, product reviews and forums/blogs. It filters out everything else.

It is a comparison shopping site, a lot like Shopping.com, Nextag, Become.com and Pricegrabber — but it aims to serve the full life-cycle of your needs, including eventually even recycling information.

The consumer shopping search engine industry is competitive, so this will be a tough road for Retrevo. But its backer Alloy Ventures says Retrevo has a good chance, given the huge consumer electronics market of some “$130 billion” in the U.S. alone, according to the firm.

Chief executive Vipin Jain has been working at this start-up with ten employees at his offices at the Plug & Play complex in Sunnyvale, with a “little less than a million” in backing from Alloy.

He’s now about to start looking for $5 million in venture backing, he says.

He wants to make money from advertising and from lead generation revenue from the device retailers.

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