Hakia, another search engine company that is trying to understand “meaning” of your search terms, as a way of competing against Google, has raised $5 million more in capital from Prokom Investments, an existing investor.
The investment comes at a time when activity in new search engine approaches is robust. Just today, Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales launched a new search engine, Search Wikia, that hopes to recruit people to edit its results. Mahalo is another people-based search engine, and Silicon Valley’s techies have more in the works.
However, Hakia, based in New York, has gotten less buzz than the others. It is far away from the cluster of scientists and engineers here in Silicon Valley that have helped push the search engine industry forward, and its investors are unconventional. Prokom, the latest investor is a Polish private equity firm, which besides making tech investments, also back biotechnology, real estate, construction and oil companies.
Hakia’s other backer are private equity firms too. Private equity firms typically invest in later-stage companies, not early ones, like Hakia, which are still in the process of putting their team together and in the early stages of figuring out their technology.
The latest funding brings total investment to $21 million. The company says it is now building a semantic advertising platform and a European datacenter. Other investors include Noble Grossart Investments Limited, a subsidiary of Noble Grossart Limited; Alexandra Investment Management, an investment adviser; and KVK, a large mobile telecommunications company in Turkey. Individual investors include Dr. Pentti Kouri, who is also a co-founder of the company; Lu Pat Ng, representing his family from Malaysia; and Murat Vargi, an early investor in Turkcell, a leading GSM operator of Turkey.