Powerset, which is developing a natural language search engine, said today it closed a $12.5 million ifirst round led by Foundation Capital and The Founders Fund, early-stage investment firms. The company also announced it had been funded by a large number of angel investors, including PayPal co-founder Luke Nosek and analyst Esther Dyson. <a href="http://www.powerset.com/press/06/11/03/angel.html"(List)). Peter Thiel of The Founders Fund, also a co-founder of PayPal, and Foundation Capital’s Charles Moldow will join Powerset’s board of directors. The company plans to use the funds for product development and company operations., Release. (via Dealbook.)
Whether Powerset will succeed at natural-language search, which Ask Jeeves among others have also tried, remains to be seen. Google continues to say this is one of its goals as well but hasn’t gotten very far. Skeptics are plenty, including search expert Danny Sullivan, who recently wrote a scathing history of natural-language search .
But as VentureBeat notes, Powerset’s backers think the Palo Alto-based company, is onto something. Foundation Capital kicked in $7 million, The Founders Fund $3 million, and the angel investors anted up $2.5 million.