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metalinks.jpgWhat do you do if you’re a Silicon Valley VC, and there are tons of companies launching to offer search of “unstructured” data, stuff such as emails, PDF documents and other archives?

Why, you back your own start-up doing the same thing, of course. Mountain View’s Metalincs, an email search company, has just raised $8.75 million in its first round from three firms, according to news today from VentureWire (subscription required)

The amount may be no coincidence. Ideally, you’ve got to raise more than the folks going before you. In May, competitors Attenex and Njini got the ball rolling: VCs pumped $5 million into Attenex, and news surfaced that Accel Partners and the London firm, Add Partners, had invested $6.3 into Njini. Just last week, competitor Cymfony said it raised $7 million from folks like Trident Capital and Hearst Interactive Media.

One tweak in this steady progression is the announcement by Mountain View competitor, Kazeon, which emerged in March, saying it had raised $17 million from Redpoint Ventures, Clearstone Venture Partners and Goldman Sachs — beginning two years ago. But the thinking probably is that they must have burned through much of that.

Too early to say how they’re all doing, because many are just launching. At this rate, though, VCs will have to fund a search company just to sort through them all.


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