Yet another Web search engine is about to be launched, but this time, directed solely at the indigenous European Web surfer. Stockholm, Sweden-based EuroSeek AB will this week launch its Euro-centric Internet search engine which will compete directly with the more established, US-based search engines that are now turning to Europe en masse, away from the already saturated North American market. Bengt Hellsten, founder of six-month old EuroSeek, concedes that competition will be tough, as the likes of Yahoo!, AltaVista, Excite, InfoSeek and Lycos all converge on the European market. The company however believes it has competitive advantage over the others by having a head start on implementing interfaces for a much higher number of European languages than any of the others. It also believes the engine has links to more European Universal Resource Locators than any of its competitors. At present, the search engine caters for 19 languages from 18 countries, but most of the interest for the engine is currently from EuroSeek’s Swedish home ground. However, according to Hellsten, the Hungarian government has shown an interest and wants to make a deal, as does IBM Sweden, on a local basis. It says it will seek advertisers in other languages after the launch. EuroSeek also has plans to develop an AsiaSeek engine by the end of the year. It is currently in talks with Microsoft Corp and hopes to announce an Internet Explorer-related deal within the next two weeks. Bengt said the company was more attracted to the idea of splitting advertising revenue – the usual terms of Microsoft’s bundling pacts with search engine developers – than paying a flat rate of $5m to Netscape Communications Corp for its browser. Simultaneously with the search engine launch, EuroSeek is using the Web for a private placing for $3m worth of first round venture capital. The company is issuing 5 million shares at $0.66 each – available only to non-US persons – which represent 20% of the total outstanding shares. It plans an initial public offering on Nasdaq later this year.
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