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Needl, a YC startup based in Seattle, raises $2.5M to build ‘a search bar for your entire life’

From left to right: Needl cofounders Max Keenan (left), and Angela Liu (right). (Needl Photo)

Needl is a Seattle-based startup that creates a personal search tool that draws information from different websites. It raised $2.5 Million.

The new company just graduated from Y Combinator. It aims at helping people find documents and files quickly.

“We’ve essentially built a single search bar for your entire life,” said CEO Max Keenan. “It’s basically Mac’s Spotlight on steroids.”

Keenan co-founded the company alongside fellow University of Chicago alumni James Liu and Angela Liu. Both were former Microsoft Software Engineers.

Needl is able to assist with three kinds of search:

  • Finding files and documents specific to your search
  • Information about a particular subject or category
  • Locating relevant information on a company or person

Keenan claimed that Needl is primarily targeting project managers. Needl launched an August closed beta and will be rolling out this week to additional users. Here’s how he described the use case in an email to GeekWire:

Another common example is the PM. Ahead of every one of her calls, she uses Needl to search the Project Name and from there, she instantly has the relevant presentations in Slides, the latest specs in Notion, and the tickets in Jira. It takes her less time than spending 10 minutes looking for relevant information. She can do a one-search and have all the necessary details at her fingertips.

There are many companies offering search-related capabilities. Glean raised $100 millions earlier in the year.

Keenan, a former investment banker, said Glean makes “great internal search” but is targeted at enterprises.

“We learned that finding information is hard, even at small companies, so we’re building a self-serve tool that anyone can get going in less than two minutes and from there, find anything they need, regardless of where it lives,” he said. “Needl does not require full company buy-in, unlike most of our predecessors.”

Command E was another similar startup, raising $4.3 million for 2020. Seattle-based Plus also raised $5.5 million last fiscal year.

Needl’s investors include Fuse, Y Combinator, Palm Drive Capital, Liquid 2 Ventures, Stanford professor Collin Wallace, and SimpleLegal founder Nathan Wenzel.

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