Tech start-up of the week:

23 Sep 2012

Vincent Glennon and Derek Organ, co-founders of Photo by Sean Nicholls

Our tech start-up of the week is, a new search engine that’s aiming to make it easier for people to find what they have viewed before on the internet. How? By creating a personal archive of pages one has visited via a browser plug-in.

The new venture was just incorporated in August but co-founders Vincent Glennon and Derek Organ have been working on SeenBefore for almost a year now. They are currently in situ at Dogpatch Labs, the start-up hub that based itself on Barrow Street in Dublin last year.

As part of their research, Organ and Glennon said they found that 40pc of web searches are made by people who are looking for what they have already seen before. That’s when they decided to come up with a new type of search engine.

Future Human

Explains Organ: “Searching for something you saw before will generally give you millions of results on Google. SeenBefore provides the tool to show you the five to 10 websites with that word in it instead of all the millions of results Google gives. You don’t have to change any of your habits as we have integrated SeenBefore results into the Google results page.”

At the moment, SeenBefore just works on Google Chrome, whereby people can download the browser plug-in after they sign up for the service. However, Organ says SeenBefore will be available on Firefox, as well as Chrome, next week.

“We found that these are currently the most popular choice of browsers for our users. Safari and Internet Explorer will follow shortly,” he explains.

According to the duo, the SeenBefore tool will work across multiple machines, even when a user’s browsing history is deleted. As well as this, the service is disabled when an internet user opts for private browsing.

Target users

So who will want to use SeenBefore? Anyone who uses the internet frequently and needs to be able to find that information again on multiple computers, explains Organ. He gives the example of a person needing to recall information they saw on a website three weeks ago, just before they go into a meeting, or when one needs to quickly find a website to track down specific information they have read before.

Future plans

As for the remainder of 2012, Glennon and Organ say they will be listening to feedback from their current user base and building the service from there. The start-up will also be showcasing at the Dublin Web Summit in October.

“Our objective is to start with getting awareness out there and then build from there. We’re aiming to get between 10,000 and 15,000 users over the next three months,” explains Organ.

And they are also setting their sights on tapping into the smartphone marketplace.

“Being available on mobile would be great as mobile usage today is prevalent among the 24-40 age group we are targeting. We want to tap into this market and help them find their information quickly. Most importantly, we want to test our assumptions about how this problem should be solved,” says Organ.

SeenBefore has also been nominated for an Irish Internet Association Net Visionary Award in the ‘Most Insightful and Intriguing Internet Innovation’ category.

Organ and Glennon have also gleaned some early stage investment from Enterprise Ireland for SeenBefore and they are hoping to talk to business angels or venture capitalists about future potential investment over the coming months.

And their advice for other self-starters out there? “This is one of the best times you can start a tech start-up as, for the most part, it is immune to the current position of most other industries,” says Glennon. “Even when start-ups fail, those lessons can be brought forward to the next role. For me, this makes it almost risk-free. The riskiest thing I could be doing right now is not been involved in this industry.”

Image courtesy of @sean_nicholls

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic