Neeva, which had been challenging the Google search engine, is ceasing operations as founders Sridhar Ramaswamy and Vivek Raghunathan admitted they faced major challenges in attracting new users. The founders wrote in a blog post that they founded Neeva with the mission to take search back to its users.
“Having worked on search and search ads for over a decade, we sincerely believed that there was space for a model of search that put user and not advertiser interests first — a private, ads-free experience. But throughout this journey, we’ve discovered that it is one thing to build a search engine, and an entirely different thing to convince regular users of the need to switch to a better choice,” they said.
These headwinds combined with the different economic environments have made it clear that there is no longer a way to create a sustainable business in consumer search.
“As a result, over the next few weeks, we will be shutting down neeva.com and our consumer search product, and shifting to a new area of focus,” the founders said.
Neeva, a 2019 startup, launched an ad-free, subscription-only search engine in the US two years ago before introducing a free tier. More than 600,000 people had access to Neeva.
However, according to the founders, “Acquiring users has been really hard” due to the additional difficulty involved in changing default search settings and the difficulties in explaining the distinction between a search engine and a browser.”
If a user has a paid subscription to Neeva Premium, the unused portion of your subscription will be refunded, the company added.
“Over the past year, we have seen the clear, pressing need to use LLMs effectively, inexpensively, safely, and responsibly. We will provide updates on the future of our work and our team in the next few weeks, the founders said.