RealTime IT News

As Google Goes

A rising tide on anticipation for Google's IPO may be lifting all boats in the search sector. That's just fine with Steve Papa, CEO of enterprise search firm Endeca.

"[Google] has raised people's awareness of what high-quality information discovery can do," Papa told internetnews.com. "It's led people to prioritize their projects."

This morning, Cambridge, Mass.,-based Endeca announced that it has raised $15 million in third-round venture capital financing.

Lehman Brothers' Venture Partners and Granite Global Partners led the round while previous investors Ampersand Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Venrock Associates and DN Capital also deepened their commitment with new investments.

Five-year-old Endeca will use the backing to expand and develop new products and services aimed at verticals like manufacturing and the public sector. It's also looking at new geographic markets.

The cash could also be used to purchase search technology from another firm, Papa said, although to date, Endeca's software has been developed in-house.

"We've scaled up the business during the past nine months," Papa said. "In Europe, we've gone from two to 10 people. The next logical step is farther east, Japan, Korea and China."

In the last six months, Google's planed IPO and the paid placement trend have grabbed most of the headlines in the sector.

But Endeca and a handful of other search specialists have been quietly winning jobs to organize information on corporate intranets (increasing worker productivity) or improve online customer service sections (deflecting calls to service representatives).

For example, earlier this year Endeca notched a deal with IBM to help shoppers find notebooks, desktops, workstations and servers at Big Blue's online store.

The deal includes Endeca's InFront offering, which considers price, operating systems, model, weight and special features in sorting through offerings. The product also generates customized promotions that are specific to each customer's shopping session. Papa said more deals are in the works with IBM.

Endeca, which is privately held and has about 150 employees, also counts bookseller Barnes & Noble, consumer electronics retailer CompUSA and financial services firm Quick and Reilly (an affiliate of Bank of America) as customers.

Papa said Endeca rarely competes with Google. More often, it goes up against Verity and Autonomy.

As for whether the interest in Google's IPO affects Endeca's plans or timetable to go public, Papa kept his cards close to his vest.

"I keep my focus on building value of company," he said.