Neeva, the challenger search engine founded by former Googlers Sridhar Ramaswamy and Vivek Raghunathan, has announced the winding down of its consumer business. In a blog post, the founders cited challenges in attracting new users and the difficult economic environment as the reasons behind the decision.
The company, based in Mountain View, California, launched an ad-free, subscription-only search engine in the United States two years ago. It later introduced a free tier to attract more users. Despite amassing over 600,000 users, with the majority on the free plan, Neeva struggled to achieve substantial growth. The company attempted to reinvent the search experience by introducing a generative AI engine that provided a single answer by combining multiple results and sources.
Neeva’s plans for expansion included a launch in Europe and the development of a generative AI search app called Gist. However, the iOS launch of Gist was repeatedly delayed, raising questions about the app’s progress.
Like many tech companies, Neeva faced the challenges of tough economic conditions, which led to layoffs across the industry. Despite raising more than $75 million from investors like Sequoia and Greylock, Neeva did not secure a Series C funding round. While the company aimed to provide a genuine alternative to Google, it proved difficult to convince users to switch from the dominant search engine.
Although Neeva will shut down its consumer search product, it has hinted at future plans in enterprise search and monetization beyond paid subscriptions. The company may pursue licensing deals to power application search within enterprises, leveraging its work with large language models. Reports suggest that Neeva has been in discussions with cloud giant Snowflake about a possible acquisition, indicating a potential direction for the company.
Neeva plans to issue refunds to paid subscribers and delete all user data. The founders expressed their intention to explore how they can apply their search and large language model expertise in enterprise settings. Updates on Neeva’s future plans will be provided in the coming weeks.