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Apps Search Pioneer Quixey Poised to Raise $60 Million From Alibaba, Twitter, SoftBank

Have you heard of deep linking in apps? You will.

Asa Mathat

Quixey, the app search engine, is close to getting $60 million in funding from a powerful coterie of investors, including China’s Alibaba Group, Twitter, SoftBank and others.

The funding deal, which is not yet closed, would value the Mountain View, Calif., startup at $600 million if the investment is made.

Other participants in this round include an investment arm of financier George Soros, Goldman Sachs and GGV Capital. Both Alibaba and GGV are existing investors, along with Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors.

So far, Quixey has received $75 million in funding since it was founded in 2009. It started off allowing people to discover mobile apps, but has now moved into mobile search and is focused on something it calls “functional search by deep linking” into apps.

As Ina Fried has noted:

“You may not have heard much about in-app search or deep linking, but we think there’s a good chance you will be hearing those terms a lot more soon. Though still nascent, mobile deep linking could allow the apps that are today largely disconnected islands to eventually be as connected as pages on the Web.”

Twitter’s investment, which is reportedly much smaller than that of SoftBank and Alibaba who are the lead investors in this round, is the most interesting element of the funding. Sources said it may have something to do with its broader interest in mobile developers, which has taken on new life in the past six months.

The company rolled out a suite of third-party developer tools in October, and makes money by placing ads within other apps as part of its MoPub service. In short, Twitter wants people using apps — all kinds of apps — more often.

That’s exactly what Quixey aims to do.

CEO and co-founder Tomer Kagan talked about deep linking at our Code/Mobile event last fall; here’s the full video:

Quixey declined to comment.

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