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French search engine giant Algolia swallows Sydney startup for $100 million deal

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Sydney startup Search.io has been acquired by US-based French tech company Algolia in a deal worth more than $100 million.

Founded in 2015, the startup was previously known as Sajari and was renamed in December last year.

While the acquisition price has not been disclosed, it is believed to be in excess of $100 million in cash and cash. The deal reportedly went through after a VC pulled out of a $20 million Series A for Search, a cloud-based instant search platform for websites and e-commerce. The startup was previously backed by local VC Tidal Ventures.

The company is sliding in nicely Algolia’s core business as a API-first search and discovery platform. Search’s flagship product is Neuralsearch, a vector search engine that uses hashing technology. Algolia will combine keyword search and neuralsearch into a single API.

Algolia CEO Bernadette Nixon said they planned to disrupt the search market with the acquisition.

“We will be the only product on the market that combines keyword search with vector-based semantics and image search, along with vector-based recommendations,” she said.

“Supplier consolidation is back in vogue, and getting the best opportunities from one supplier is powerful in the current economic environment.”

Search.io currently serves billions of API requests every month on more than a thousand sites worldwide, including BBC, Catch, Lockheed Martin, the NSW government, and Sennheiser. It has a strong customer base in the US and opened an office there in 2019.

CEO and Co-Founder Hamish Ogilvy said he was delighted to be part of a world-class search and discovery leader

“Delivering on the promise of AI search has traditionally required massive in-house expertise and technical resources to work effectively. In addition to delivering better search experiences, it also needs to be done reliably, quickly and cost-effectively,” he said.

“Algolia is a global leader in providing highly redundant, globally distributed instant search using more than 100 data centers around the world. This global search distribution network combined with vector-based semantic search using extremely fast and efficient neural hash technology is an exciting and truly unique solution.”

Nixon said Search customers and partners will continue to contact Search.io through the same channels they already use for the foreseeable future and that Algolia will continue to fulfill all contracts with Search.io customers in accordance with the terms set out in the original contracts are set out.

“Welcoming the Search.io team and launching our hybrid search engine is the start of the next chapter of Algolia,” she said.

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