Become.com, an comparison shopping and research site, is raising $8 million in a fourth round of funding, VentureBeat has learned. The Mountain View, Calif. company confirmed the funding, but won’t provide any additional details until the formal announcement.

This news comes only three months after Become.com announced its $17.5 million third round. I’m hoping to talk to chief executive Michael Yang once the news is official, so I can find out what’s behind this. When we last spoke, Yang told me Become.com was in its second consecutive quarter of profitability, but he also said his goal is to have one of the top comparison shopping sites around, in the same league if not beating giant Shopping.com. So perhaps the company needs more money to fuel that growth. I’ve also been speaking to more and more startups who say they’re raising venture funding as a financial cushion if the economic doldrums continue or get worse, and Become.com may be in a similar situation.

Editor Matt Marshall first covered the site in 2005, when he used Become.com to shop for his (at the time) new house, and was particularly impressed by its search tool, which lets users find lots of relevant product reviews. It has a healthy amount of products for sale through comparison shopping, too — more than 25 million products sold through 5,000 stores — although that’s much less than shopping search site TheFind, which indexed 170 million products and 500,000 stores, the last time we checked.

This new round brings Become.com’s total funding to more than $37 million.

Update: Become.com has made its official announcement about the funding, identifying the European Founders Fund as the investor. As you might expect given the backer, the new money will go towards European expansion, particularly in the United Kingdom, Germany and France.

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