>>Visual search engine Searchme goes offline
Visual search startup Searchme went offline Friday, hours after reports appeared saying it hadn't been able to raise $50 million in funding it needed.
The Mountain View company had raised nearly $44 million from venture investors, including Menlo Park-based Sequoia Capital.
The Techcrunch blog posted an e-mail it said came from CEO Randy Adams that said the company was cutting 35 employees from its 45 worker staff.
"We knew when we started the company that to compete with the likes of Microsoft, Google and Yahoo, it was going to take at least $100 million, half to build the back end across thousands of servers and half to get distribution (maybe more with Microsoft spending $100 million on Bing advertising alone)," the e-mail said. "What we didn’t plan on was the terrible downturn in the economy which made it impossible to raise another $50 million to get distribution (mainly through toolbar deals). In this economy nobody wants to invest that kind of money in a company that is pre-revenue, even if the net result is potentially a multi-billion dollar company."
Searchme offered screenshots of results rather in stead of lists of links and was launched in private beta in March.