Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

The Mechanical Moo-Lah?

BoomTown has officially selected The Mechanical Zoo–a super-secret-shhh-onthedownlow start-up that already got tons of attention due to its passel of ex-Googlers and its mashup plan to mix social and search–as its next candidate for excessive Web 2.0 funding.

And, according to several sources, the San Francisco-based company is working on closing a mega-Series-A round right now, with all the usual big VC suspects in the running.

The Mechanical Zoo has already raised $750,000 in seed funding from angel investors and has access to other funding from institutional investors.

I am not sure as yet how much and at what valuation any new round will be pegged, but sources said it is likely to be larger than is typical this early in the game.

Why? Well, a hot concept and the fact that The Mechanical Zoo has the fancy team of pedigreed geeks–including former Google (GOOG) News product head Nathan Stoll and CEO Max Ventilla, another ex-Googler, along with other prominent techies.

Its first product offering is an invitation-only alpha version of a “subjective search” application that is inexplicably called Aardvark (see the graphic below; click on it to make it larger).

The motto on the site says: “Just ask. Someone knows. Aardvark connects you on the spot.”

It also notes:

“For information you can trust, a person is better than a webpage.

Tap into the knowledge and experience of the tens of thousands of people in your network–friends, people your friends trust, classmates and co-workers.

Send Aardvark a message by IM or Email and Aardvark will find the one person who can help you out, in the moment.”

The Mechanical Zoo site says its first product will be released this fall.

Please see this disclosure related to me and Google.