IIT Alumni Ready To Launch Ad-Free Search Engine

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New Delhi: IIT alumni and former Google executives Sridhar Ramaswamy and Vivek Raghunathan are set to roll out ad-free, private search product, Neeva by June 2021. Neeva hopes to offer a customer-paid and customer-first alternative.

“The ad model has been great for bringing search to everyone on the planet, but over time there is more and more pressure to show more ads and not really what the user wants. Our thesis is that we can create a much better search product, focusing solely on what a customer needs,” Neeva CEO Ramaswamy told The Indian Express from California.

IIT Chennai graduate, 54-year-old Ramaswamy has been the senior vice-president of ads and commerce at Google, and also run its travel, shopping and search infrastructure teams.

Vivek Raghunathan studied at the IIT Mumbai and was earlier vice-president of Monetisation at YouTube.

“So it’s actually a broad set of experiences. Similarly, Vivek was the first tech lead of what is now called the Google Assistant. So we’ve actually worked on search on both sides,” Ramaswamy was quoted by the national daily.

Plans are ready to launch Neeva in “four-five months”, initially in the home market of the US and then English-speaking regions like Western Europe, Australia and India. “Fortunately we have a great team of engineers, designers and product managers, and very good backers,” Ramaswamy said.

Neeva has raised $37.5 million till now, with equal investments from Greylock, Sequoia Capital and Ramaswamy himself.

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