SOURCE: blekko

September 29, 2011 11:00 ET

Blekko Closes $30 Million Funding Round; Welcomes Yandex as Strategic Investor

Yandex CEO to Join Blekko Board; Investment and Technology Partnership Will Fuel Growth

REDWOOD SHORES, CA--(Marketwire - Sep 29, 2011) - Blekko, the search engine striving to eliminate spam from search results, announced today that Europe's largest internet company Yandex (NASDAQ: YNDX) will make a strategic investment in the Silicon Valley search start up. Additional investors in the $30 million funding round were Australian investor, MLC Private Equity, and existing investors U.S. Venture Partners, CMEA Capital and PivotNorth Capital.

"Blekko's top tier technology and fresh product approach has enabled it to sustain growth since it launched, something no other U.S. search start up has been able to accomplish in more than a decade," said Arkady Volozh, Principal Founder and CEO of Yandex, who will join the blekko board. "We love blekko and think it's a great product -- a quality search engine that organically combines search algorithms with expert opinions. We believe the outlook for this approach is strong and that the blekko team is poised to make it a success."

Yandex has 3000 employees in six countries including Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Turkey and the United States, where the company has operated Yandex Labs from its Palo Alto office since 2008. The company offers an array of search services and products including web search, news search, video search, shopping search, real time traffic monitoring, maps, photo hosting, online payments, spam protection, an advertising network, and analytics. sees 41.2 million unique visitors per month and currently has 63 percent market share in Russia. Yandex went public on the NASDAQ Global Select Market in May 2011.

"Yandex is a partner and investor that shares our mission of making search the best experience it can be," said Rich Skrenta, CEO of blekko. "Having access to one of the world's top pools of search talent and the fantastic products they have built will help us grow blekko in the U.S."

For more than 20 years, Yandex has been developing and optimizing search technology, which is the core of the company's business and has helped Yandex become one of the best-known brands and the number one web destination in Russia.

Blekko was founded in 2007 and launched the search engine to the public in November 2010, offering a user-curated search experience that let searchers drill down into vertical categories using slashtags. Earlier this year the search company expanded its efforts to eliminate spam from search results and banned pages from well-known content farms as well as blocking pages from 1.1 million domains that were generating spam.

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About blekko
Blekko was founded in 2007 to pursue innovations that would eliminate spam in search results. The company's investors and strategic partners are Yandex, MLC Australia, U.S. Venture Partners, CMEA Capital, PivotNorth Capital, and leading angel investors including Ron Conway, Mike Maples, Jeff Clavier, and Marc Andreessen. Blekko has 27 employees, including former Google and Yahoo! Search engineers.

About Yandex

Yandex (NASDAQ: YNDX) is the leading internet company in Russia, operating the country's most popular search engine and the most visited website. Yandex also operates in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Turkey. Yandex's mission is to answer any question internet users may have.

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