Berlin as a startup hub continues to heat up, with some commentators placing it alongside or overtaking London (heresy!), so it should be no surprise to see the German city’s best and brightest tech companies attract investment from Silicon Valley. And so it is that news comes today that Dave McClure has made what is thought to be his first German investment: $100k in VERSUS IO, the natural language-styled comparison engine. It follows earlier funding from Hightech-Gruenderfonds and JMES Investments, bringing the total raised by the Berlin-based company to just shy of $1 million.
Launched in July as way to compare smartphones but with plans to add 640 additional verticals by summer 2013, VERSUS IO has since expanded to also let consumers compare tablets and cameras, while most recently it added city comparisons as its first non-product vertical — the startup claims its engine is able to compare just about anything using natural language processing, frequently talking up the potential to even add people to its list of verticals.
In terms of growth, VERSUS IO claims 2.5 million monthly visitors per month, and that 10 million product comparisons are available to date, available in 18 different languages, no less. It plans to add TVs and projectors as a vertical next.
So, how did today’s investment come about? I’m told that McClure attended the ‘Geeks on a Plane’ event in Berlin at Google-funded The Factory where VERSUS IO is based. CEO Ramin G. Far was giving a talk about the growth of the company and later that day he received a call from The Factory’s team to say that McClure had asked to meet. Subsequently, after just a few minutes of talking, an investment was put in motion.
In other words, rack this up as another typical McClure story.
As for the wider debate on London versus Berlin, why not leave the last word to VERSUS IO’s algorithm. I won’t give it all away, suffice to say that London wins hands down.