AI search startup Genspark raises $60 million in seed round to challenge Google

By Thomson Reuters Jun 18, 2024 | 10:49 AM

By Krystal Hu

(Reuters) – Genspark, an artificial intelligence search startup founded by former Baidu executives, has raised $60 million in an oversized seed funding as it joins a series of challengers to take on Google’s dominance in the search market.

The funding is led by Singapore-based fund Lanchi Ventures and valued the startup, currently without revenue, at $260 million. Lanchi Ventures, formerly BlueRun Ventures China, rebranded last year to distance itself from its Silicon Valley origin BlueRun Ventures.

Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, Genspark says its search engine uses a variety of AI model providers to index and summarize information. It differentiates by using multiple specialized AI agents to generate new, customized pages every query, aiming to provide useful results on one page.

Its CEO Eric Jing led Baidu’s AI-powered smartphone and smart speaker Xiaodu unit until last October. Jing said the team of 20 people are split between Palo Alto, California and Singapore, with the plans to open a new office in Seattle.

Focusing on serving the U.S. market, Genspark is free to use and may explore paid subscription in the future. It uses a variety of large language models to deal with tasks, from open source ones such as Meta’s Llama to OpenAI’s GPT models.

Genspark’s funding comes at a time when the search engine market is experiencing renewed competition, as AI models show news ways for people to gather and access information online. You.com, another search engine, is close to raising another $50 million in funding. Perplexity, which is already unicorn, is also in talks for additional funding.

(Reporting by Krystal Hu in New York, Editing by Franklin Paul)