On the Launch Pad

Spock, a startup with $1 million in funding, wants to beat Google with a search engine that makes finding people easy.

By Michael V. Copeland, Business 2.0 Magazine senior writer

Startup: Spock

The Idea: People searching made easy

Google is a great search engine, if what you want is a list of webpages. But if you want a list of people, Spock may be the answer. Launching by the time this issue hits newsstands, Spock is the brainchild of former Clearstone Ventures partner Jaideep Singh.

It mines thousands of data-rich websites, from LinkedIn and MySpace to Wikipedia and IMDB, for names, pictures, and the attributes used to describe them. Enter "American cyclist" on Google (Charts) and you get an advocacy group first, followed by a bike shop; enter it on Spock and you'll get Lance Armstrong and Beth Heiden.

Users can vote on the rankings, and if they wish, Spock can mine their Outlook and Gmail address books. The Menlo Park, Calif., startup has limited funding - a mere $1 million from Singh's former colleagues at Clearstone - but will launch with more than a million profiles and is selling targeted ads against the searches.

The Google guys can take heart from one thing, at least: They come up third and fourth when searching Spock for "software magnate."  Top of page

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