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Looksmart Receives $60 Million In New Funding

Web site directory Looksmart Ltd. Wednesday announced it has received $60 million in its latest round of financing.

This round of funding is reportedly one of the largest ever raised by a private Internet media company, bringing Looksmart's total capital raised-to-date to $79.3 million. Investors include Amerindo Investment Advisors, Citicorp Equity Capital, Cox Interactive Media, Essex Investment Management, Hambrecht & Quist, Macquarie Bank Group, New Millennium Partners and Sand Hill Capital.

In the past year, the company has seen explosive growth. Evan Thorley, co-founder and chief executive officer, told Reuters that its revenues this year will top $40 million, more than six times 1998 levels, and reports that the site is "massively oversubscribed."

Part of its sudden surge is due to partnerships with industry leaders including MSN, Netscape, AltaVista, HotBot and @Home Network, as well as more than 150 ISPs, including IBM.net.

"Since refinancing this company last May, we have had the opportunity to start building a great media company by focusing on the enduring characteristics of the business that will not be reliant on the day-to-day changes in technology platforms, distribution economics or corporate shenanigans," Thornley said.

The company also is planning an initial public offering later this year.

This latest round of financing will be used to fuel consumer branding, strategic acquisitions and international expansion.

Looksmart's directory consists of reportedly one of the Web's largest editorially reviewed collection of Web sites. Its human-powered approach has enabled Looksmart to help users find 'useful stuff quickly,' translating into strong user loyalty, the company said.