Adchemy Kills the Keyword

Startup raises $61 million for simplified search technology

Keyword search is a $13.6 billion industry. It’s also a $13.6 billion problem: How can a marketer manage the millions of keywords attached to every single piece of content it posts to the Web?

Adchemy, a Foster City, Calif.-based startup, has spent the last six years attempting to simplify the process of buying, selling, and managing keyword search campaigns. Today the company has a little more cash to throw at the problem. Adchemy has closed a $61 million Series E investment round from Microsoft, August Capital, and Mayfield Fund, bringing its total venture backing to $119.2 million.

If $119.2 million seems like a big chunk of change for new hires, that’s because it is. Part of that capital will go toward strengthening Adchemy’s relationship with Microsoft and the use of its products Microsoft platform, adCenter, which serves search ads through Bing and Yahoo. Adchemy—whose prior investors include Accenture, Sand Hill Capital, and Josh Kopelman, founder of—will also use the money to scale out its research and engineering teams, says founder and CEO Murthy Nukala.

“The technology we’re building is very challenging, which is why you don’t see a lot of people going out and solving this problem,” he told Adweek. The problem, specifically, is that the average advertiser can’t easily convert its products into the hundreds of thousands of keywords required to run a simple search campaign on Google, Bing, or Yahoo.

Adchemy’s goal is to suss out the true intention behind each search, based on an advertiser’s product catalog, keyword portfolio, on-site query logs, and other public data sources. Adchemy’s IntentMap product simplifies the keyword assignment process for advertisers, allowing them to purchase intention-driven search campaigns targeted to more relevant users. “We believe you have to kill the keyword,” said Nukala.

The keyword's obituary already has a few co-authors. A handful of advertisers have launched campaigns through Adchemy. Over a period of three to four months, and Macy’s reported an increase of 200 percent to 500 percent in profitable revenue directly related to its Adchemy search program, said Nukala.

Publish date: September 21, 2011 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT