Spock Closes $7M in Series A Funding from Clearstone and Opus Capital Ventures

Business Wire December 20, 2006PDF Version | Link to Article

Spock, the World’s Largest People Search Engine, to Use Funding to Expand Team and Infrastructure

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Spock Networks, Inc., the world’s largest people search engine, today announced that the company has received $7 million in a Series A funding round from Clearstone Venture Partners and Opus Capital Ventures. Funds will be used to expand hiring, increase the company’s infrastructure and accelerate product development. The company further announced the election of William Quigley, managing director at Clearstone, Ken Elefant, general partner at Opus Capital Ventures, and Siva Kumar, serial entrepreneur and CEO of the TheFind.com, to its board of directors.

Spock is developing a new kind of search engine that helps users find and discover people. With over one hundred million individuals indexed and millions added every day, Spock is building the largest and most comprehensive people specific search engine. Spock expects to publicly launch in 2007.

“If you look at the top searches at Yahoo or Google today you will find people – Britney Spears, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie – always at the top of those lists – clearly demonstrating large user interest in searching for people,” said William Quigley, partner at Clearstone Venture Partners. “Companies like Google and Yahoo mastered web search, Amazon conquered product search, and we believe Spock is well-positioned to deliver a compelling solution for people search,” Quigley said.

“Everyone is curious about what is said about them online. Who hasn’t googled their own name or someone they know?” said Ken Elefant, general partner at Opus Capital Ventures. “We were incredibly impressed with the Spock team with their tremendous experience. We believe they are approaching the challenge of searching for people in a very different and powerful way that will set them apart from the current general market approach to people search.”

“Spock is excited to be working with both Clearstone and Opus Capital Ventures to further advance …

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Spock Beams Up $7 Million

Red_herring Spock Beams Up $7 Million
December 19, 2006 | PDF

By Laurie Sullivan

Hoping to exploit a weakness for Google, Yahoo, and other search engines, Spock Networks is building a service aimed at making it easier to find information about people on the Web.

Spock Networks

The 15-person Menlo Park, California, startup said Wednesday that it had raised $7 million in its first round of funding from Clearstone Venture Partners and Opus Capital Ventures.

Menlo Park, California

While the startup will face tough competition from giants such as Google and Yahoo, Spock’s backers say searching for people is something the big search engines just don’t do well.

“A big chunk of the major web sites are about finding people, but there isn’t a good way to get specific information about the person, said Ken Elefant, general partner atMenlo Park, Calif., Opus Capital. “Type in ‘Ken Elefant’”—on Google or Yahoo and you’ll get about 50 different websites describing places where I spoke or the Opus Capital website, but you don’t get information about me as a person,” he said.

Menlo Park, Calif.

Spock Networks CEO Jaideep Singh said he hopes to address the problem by indexing information across the Web and making sense of all the data collected. The biggest challenge is handling very large datasets. When the site launches in the first half of 2007, it will have “tens of billions of data records,” with hundreds of algorithm variables determining the data’s relevance, he said.

Advertising will eventually support the site, Mr. Singh said.

Spock Networks is part of a wave of niche search engines looking to find a way to go beyond what Google or Yahoo can do (see “What Google Can’t Do”).

What Google Can’t Do

Co-founders Singh, 39, and Jay Bhatti, 33, met at the Wharton School of theUniversity of Pennsylvania in 2000. Both set on becoming entrepreneurs. The two reconnected earlier this year, hashed out some company details on the phone, quit their day jobs, and by April began focusing on starting Spock Networks.


Singh worked as a venture capitalist at Clearstone and at WindRiver. Bhatti’s background includes consulting, having spent time at Accenture, Deloitte and Microsoft. Also a key member of the team, Jeff Winner, vice president of engineering, comes from Friendster, eGroups and Netscape.

Earlier this year, Mr. Singh and Mr. Bhatti convinced Clearstone to incubate Spock Networks while they built a team focused on consumer search technology. Shortly after, the company built a prototype. “Now we’re looking for problem solvers,” Mr. Singh said. “These are engineers who understand search, information retrieval and server technologies.”

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