Globes reports about the possible grim future of Delver, if the company can’t solve its cash flow problems in the next 30 days. According to founder Liad Agmon Delver is up for sale and it is currently in contact with private investors. The company has taken about $4 million to date, from Israel’s Carmel Ventures.
Looking a year back, Delver was a promising Israeli start up (see previous coverage on VC Cafe). The company was hyped as a semantic people search engine that enables users to get personalized search results based on their social graph. Delver was selected as one of the 15 companies in the Israel Web Tour last year and made a splash when launching in DEMO. The blogs were raving: “Delver Reinvents Search” (RWW) and “A new twist on social search” (TC).
Delver’s technology is based on crawling sites,like Digg, FriendFeed, LinkedIn and MySpace, to create a “social graph” for each of its users and coupling it with organic web search results, ranked by the strength of connections in the user’s network. The content that those friends create or share is then used to feed the Delver engine. Despite the initial buzz and seed funding, entering the search industry proved to be a big challenge. The company has struggled following up with an additional round of $6-8 million.
Delver has already notified its 20 employees that if a solution is not found in the next 30 days the company will have to shut down. Liad shared with Globes that the timing is unfortunate, having grown traffic by 500% in December. He claims that the site has 100K uniques and 2.5 Billion profiles indexed in the system. (Compete.com numbers show 25K uniques, although traffic is limited to US only).
Founder Liad Agmon had previously founded Onigma, which was sold to McAfee for $20 million. Finger crossed that he can do it again by passing along Delver to a company that is interested in more of a social flavor to search. In my opinion this could be a cheap and useful acquisition to companies such as Amazon, Netflix or Shopping.com, who all get millions of daily queries with commercial intent. They could greatly benefit from having a recommendation of products according to the social graph.