DuckDuckGo, the Paoli-based search engine that promises not to track users or sell their data, is preparing to launch a full-scale desktop browser, among other products, now that a team of Internet pioneers have bet $ 100 million on its success.
Founder Gabriel Weinberg started the business in 2008 with capital raised through the sale of the social media business he ran as a student at MIT. DuckDuckGo now has 129 employees, many of whom are software developers who work remotely, away from the company’s modest headquarters, in a townhouse-sized office building on Paoli Pike, one block away. houses of an Amtrak-SEPTA station.
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As a private company, DuckDuckGo does not publish financial data. But last week, Weinberg published a brief report online: The company “has been profitable since 2014 and today our revenues. [from site advertising sales] exceeds $ 100 million per year, which gives us the financial resources to continue to grow rapidly.
According to tracking service StatCounter, DuckDuckGo was the No. 2 mobile search engine in the United States, after Google, in the 12-month period that ended on May 31. a 94% order for Google. But that’s still several million searches. And DuckDuckGo is now ahead of Microsoft’s Yahoo !, Bing and other engines run by much larger companies.
DuckDuckGo has an even smaller share of the desktop search market, which it will tackle directly with its new browser. Weinberg says the company only tracks Google in mobile searches in Canada, Australia and the Netherlands.
Halfway through his memo, Weinberg released a list of his firm’s new investors, who bought out some of DuckDuckGo’s early employees and first-round backers. These new investors include Tim Berners-Lee, the Oxford-trained, Boston-based computer scientist credited with inventing the Internet, Mitch Kapor, founder of the Firefox web browser, and Brian Acton, founder of WhatsApp, which was acquired by Facebook. for $ 22 billion. in 2014.
Weinberg is a familiar figure in global internet privacy circles. He testified before Congress, urging government officials to break down big tech giants such as Google, Amazon and Facebook, which Weinberg and other critics say are using the powers of the market to oust competition.
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But new investors won’t translate into a bigger company profile for DuckDuckGo. Company officials say there is no prospect of a fancy, bigger headquarters, in the Grand Valley or in town.
“Everyone will continue to work remotely,” as most did before COVID-19, with just this little desktop hub on Paoli Pike, spokesman Kamyl Bazbaz said. “We hire people from across the country and around the world; we do not intend to make any changes ”to the physical footprint.
Philadelphia biotech companies with big brains but little to no off-the-shelf products continue to attract millions through Initial Public Stock Offerings (IPOs):
Philadelphia-based Century Therapeutics, which employs more than 100 people under CEO Osvaldo Flores and develops stem cell-based cancer therapies, plans to raise more than $ 240 million through its IPO this week last. This includes a follow-up deal with investment bankers expected to be reached next month, after setting an initial price of $ 20 per share.
Two small start-ups that went public in February, Center City-based Vallon Pharmaceuticals of David Baker, which is developing an anti-drug treatment, and Virpax Pharmaceuticals, the non-opioid analgesics development company of Anthony P. Mack, Both traded below their IPO. prices in recent weeks, which is not unusual in the current speculative investment market for biotech remedies.