The app search startup Quixey is shutting down; it was previously valued at $600 million in a 2015 financing round. Since the only English article covering the shutdown is paywalled, the below is a (bad, sorry) translation from Chinese websites. Wikipedia has more background information on the company. Quixey founder Tomer Kagan stepped down as CEO last year, and is now running a new startup named Sigma.
Quixey, a mobile search firm that has received investment from Alibaba, is currently closed and a large number of employees have been fired two weeks ago, according to informed sources. Quixey was founded in 2009 to provide application search capabilities for large vendors, operators, search engines, and web applications. It was known to have earned $400,000 in seed investment from Innovation Endeavors (Google chairman Eric Schmidt’s investment firm) at the beginning of its history.
The reports have been confirmed. In response to inquiries, Alibaba said: “Alibaba has been Quixey and its founders’ largest financial support. Unfortunately, because the company’s development did not meet expectations, the board of directors made a decision to close the company’s business. We will continue to invest in the US market, support entrepreneurs and innovate.”
The company raised 60 million US dollars in 2015, in a round led by Alibaba and Softbank. Twitter, Goldman Sachs, GGV Capital, Google founder Eric Schmidt, George Soros, and investment institutions have also invested. Through now, Quixey has raised $130 million.
It is understood that, unlike Google and Baidu and other keyword-based search engines, Quixey is a functional search engine specifically for mobile applications, built on a variety of platforms and based on rich functional applications. Quixey’s application search is not based on an application’s title, metadata, or application description, but based on what the user wants to do, what features are needed to search. For example, if you search for the keyword “book a hotel,” Quixey will return a list of all the applications that provide this feature and select and filter the appropriate platform. Search results may include [???], and it supports iOS, Android and other operating systems, somewhat similar to Baidu’s light application distribution platform.
Quixey also works with major companies., such as the US Q&A website ask.com, Singapore’s largest telecom operator star Hub, and has reached agreements with many North American businesses to install it in their default toolbar.
Moreover, with Quixey deep learning, the scope of the index is not limited to the major app stores, but aimed at the app of “the world around.” Search covers the major sites, blog comments, evaluation, forums and so on, searching through the user comments to finally return a result. Its ambition was to achieve full platform coverage.
Since its establishment seven years ago, Quixey’s financing has been relatively smooth. Alibaba led in the C round with a 50 million US dollars stake, and continued with the support, quickly became the largest investor. In November 2016, Quixey also had a series of turbulence. John Foster was appointed as a replacement to become the new CEO. Due to not achieving revenue targets, two executives, the COO and CTO, left.