Heystaks Technologies, an Irish web-search start up company, has secured €1m (£0.9m) of equity funding from The Ulster Bank Diageo Venture Fund, which is managed by NCB Ventures.
The funding will be used to develop the company’s product, expand its existing operations and open an office in San Francisco, California − the heart of one of the company’s target markets. Heystaks currently employs four people and now aims to increase staff numbers to 14 by the end of year one and to over 40 by the end of 2013.
Based in the NovaUCD centre, Heystaks was established in 2007 and is a spin-out company from the Science Foundation Ireland-funded Clarity Centre for Sensor Web Technologies at University College Dublin.
The company’s patent-pending ’Heystaks’ is a browser toolbar that adds a number of missing features to existing search engines. Not only can a user organise search experiences, storing frequent searches and the results in a type of folder called a search Stak, these search experiences can also be shared with colleagues via email, Facebook and Twitter.
The product provides an effective solution for users who share a common goal or shared interest, allowing them to search the web in a collaborative fashion using mainstream search engines, to make their searches much more productive and effective. The company claims that it has been shown to improve the success rate of searches (including Google searches) by up to 50 per cent.
Prof Barry Smyth, co-founder of Heystaks, said: ’This investment by The Ulster Bank Diageo Venture Fund will facilitate our expansion into the US, which we envisage will be a core market for our technology, providing opportunities for both ongoing product development and new customers.’
At the moment the Heystaks technology is in beta testing, but the company says that it will be launching publicly soon.