Meilisearch gets $15M investment to grow search-as-a-service business • TechCrunch

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

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

De Quelen co-founded Meilisearch with Clément Renault and Thomas Payet, two friends from college, in 2018. The trio worked together on search technology at e-commerce startup Veepee and then at Louis Vuitton, where they quickly realized the intractable problem that building a featured search engine.

“Building great search experiences has historically only been possible for companies with large technology resources,” said De Kuelen. “[Search is often] very difficult and expensive for a maintenance and setup team.

In 2020 they launched De Quelen, Renault and Payet Mailisearch, a search API based on their professional knowledge and experience. Available on GitHub, the project has grown to over 10 million downloads, making it among the most popular open source search projects.

Image Credits: Mailisearch

De Quelen argues that unlike Elasticsearch and other open source search engine frameworks, Meilisearch is designed for front-end applications across a wide range of domains — not just narrow use cases like e-commerce discovery. Using natural language processing, Meilisearch tries to better understand the queries users make in any app, service or website the developer embeds it into.

Meilisearch supports major languages ​​and comes with search filters such as price and date as well as custom ranking rules. It also corrects typos and errors, ensuring that query errors do not adversely affect the search experience.

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

“[W]It quickly proved that Meilisearch is long-awaited by developers who cannot find simple and powerful solutions to improve the search experience in their applications,” he said. “The open source project has shown tremendous acceptance by the developer community and [we’re] is actively working on monetization around the open source project.”

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

Asked about the track and revenue, De Quelen declined to comment. But he said Meilisearch will take a disciplined approach to the burn, spending the capital it raised from its Series A over the next two to three years.

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

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