The leading Russian search engine company Yandex, which completed $1.3 billion IPO on NASDAQ in May 2011, invested $15 million in Blekko, U.S.-based search engine company this week.
It’s not clear why Yandex, which is loosing its market share to Google in Russia, put $15 million for a small stake in a tiny search engine in the U.S market, which is dominated by Google. To better fight Google, Yandex could have been able to invest that kind of money in Russia-developed search technnologies of Nigma (‘WolpframAlpha‘ of Russia) and Quintura (‘Powerset‘ of Russia).
Yandex‘ search share in Russia decreased from 65% in May 2011 to 61% at the end of September 2011, according to Liveinternet.ru.
The shares of Yandex (YNDX) closed at $20.46 at NASDAQ last Friday, down from $42.01 in July 2011.
Yandex was the largest investor in Blekko‘s $30 million new equity funding round. Other investors included MLC Private Equity from Australia and existing investors U.S. Venture Partners (USVP), CMEA Capital and PivotNorth Capital. According to newspaper Kommersant, Yandex obtained a 10% stake in Blekko as a result of its investment. Yandex CEO Arkadiy Volozh joined Blekko‘s Board of Directors.
Founded in 2007, Blekko‘s slashtags-based search engine was launched in November 2010. Blekko.com, which has only $224k unique monthly visitors (according to Compete), previously received $24.2 million in total investments. Blekko has a web index of 3 billion pages.