Quixey, a seven-year-old mobile search company that raised more than $130 million from Alibaba Group and others, is in the process of shutting down, said a person with direct knowledge of the situation. Numerous employees were laid off two weeks ago, according to a former employee.
Quixey came to prominence as a potential alternative to Google Search, at least when it came to look for native mobile apps and, later, for information within those apps. In-app search has long been a tricky problem, even for Google. (Background here and here.) For a time, Quixey shifted its focus to providing search technology directly for the benefit of Alibaba, a large Chinese online commerce company. Alibaba made its most recent investment in the company at a post-money valuation north of $500 million two years ago.