Meilisearch makes $15M investment to grow its ‘search as a service’ business • TechCrunch

Meilisearch, the creator behind the open source search engine project of the same name, today closed a $15 million Series A round led by Felicis, with participation from CRV, LocalGlobe, ESOP, Mango Capital, Seedcamp and its CEO Vercel, Guillermo Rauch. CEO Quentin de Quelen tells TechCrunch that the new cash will help expand Paris-based Meilisearch’s marketing and sales teams as the company transitions to an “enterprise-focused” strategy.

“For three years, we’ve built a product that brings great value to developers, which has allowed us to form a strong community,” Quelen said via email. “The new money will focus on the development of Meilisearch Cloud, Meilisearch’s fully managed instance offering. We will also continue to invest in our open source offering, releasing an ‘enterprise-ready’ version of Meilisearch by early 2023.”

Quelen co-founded Meilisearch with Clément Renault and Thomas Payet, two friends from college, in 2018. The three collaborated on search technology at startup Veepee and then at Louis Vuitton, where they quickly realized the intractable problem that a search creates engine shown.

“Creating great search experiences has historically only been possible for companies with great technology resources,” Quelen said. “[Search is often] very difficult and expensive for a team to maintain and coordinate.”

2020 saw the release of Quelen, Renault and Payet Mailisearch, a search API based on their professional knowledge and experiences. Available on GitHub, the project has grown to over 10 million downloads, making it one of the most popular open source search projects.

Image Credits: Mailisearch

Quelen claims that, unlike Elasticsearch and other freely available search engine frameworks, Meilisearch is designed for frontend applications in a wide range of domains — not just limited use cases like e-commerce discovery. Leveraging natural language processing, Meilisearch strives to better understand the queries users ask in any app, service or website a developer integrates it into.

Meilisearch supports major languages ​​and has search filters such as price and date, as well as customizable ranking rules. It also corrects typos and errors, ensuring that errors in queries do not negatively impact the search experience.

Quelen claims that more than 10,000 applications today rely on Meilisearch. That’s impressive considering the growing competition in the search-as-a-service space, which includes CommandBar, Algolia, and Chameleon.

“[W]It quickly proved that Meilisearch was long-awaited by developers who couldn’t find simple and powerful solutions to improve the search experience in their apps,” he said. “The open source project is showing tremendous adoption by the developer community and [we’re] is actively working on monetizing the open source project.”

To that end, as Quelen reported, Meilisearch is increasing its investment in Meilisearch Cloud, which is scheduled to launch in late November. In development over the past few months, Quelen says Meilisearch Cloud — which offers the same experience as open source Meilisearch but is hosted in the public cloud, with pre-built integrations — has onboarded more than 50 companies during a private beta.

When asked about the catwalk and revenue, Quelen declined to comment. But he said Meilisearch will take a disciplined approach to burn through the capital it raised from Series A over the next two to three years.

To date, Meilisearch has raised $22 million. It plans to expand the number of 25 people to 30 by the end of the year and 50 by the end of 2023.

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