Neeva, which challenged Google search engine, is winding up operations as Founders Sridhar Ramaswamy and Vivek Raghunathan admitted that they had faced significant challenges attracting new users.
The founders wrote in a blog post that they started 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, the added.
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".
These headwinds, combined with the different economic environment, have made it clear that there is no longer a path towards creating 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," said the founders.
Founded in 2019, Neeva launched an ad-free, subscription-only search engine in the US two years ago, before adding a free tier.
Neeva had reached more than 600,000 users.
However, according to the founders, from the unnecessary friction required to change default search settings, to the challenges in helping people understand the difference between a search engine and a browser, "acquiring users has been really hard".
If you have a paid subscription to Neeva Premium, you will receive a refund for the unused portion of your subscription.
"Over the past year, we've seen the clear, pressing need to use LLMs effectively, inexpensively, safely, and responsibly," said the founders.
They are actively exploring how "we can apply our search and LLM expertise in these settings, and we will provide updates on the future of our work and our team in the next few weeks".
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