Kosmix, "Your Guide to the Web," Gets $20 Million, Launches Beta

Armed with an additional $20 million in funding, Kosmix is looking to expand its vision of how best to provide people a map to the World Wide Web. No, Kosmix is not trying to take on Google, though its founders do hope they’re pointing the way to what’s beyond mere search. The 65-person company, which now has raised a total of $55 million from Accel Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Dag Ventures, and private investors such as Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos, former Motorola CEO Ed Zander, and Legg Mason fund manager Bill Miller, is more like a combination of feed aggregator NetVibes (but not just for material with feeds), Demand Media’s niche topic sites (but done with algorithms rather than people), and Yahoo’s portal (but more personalized).

I do wonder whether people now accustomed to searching the Google two-or-three-words-and-10-links way will cotton to this, useful as it seems to be. But Kosmix cofounder Anand Rajaraman tells me that Kosmix’s proof-of-concept—a health site called RightHealth—is now the second-largest health Web site by traffic. So something’s working.

So far, Kosmix’s revenues, about $10 million annualized, come from Google’s AdSense and display ads from some 50 ad networks as well as some sold by a small Kosmix sales team—which will get larger with the new venture round. Early next year, Kosmix hopes to debut “sponsored modules,” which will be a couple of sections of a page sponsored by an advertiser. The idea is that Kosmix’s results pages will constitute very targeted audiences that may be appealing to advertisers.

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