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Hunch Inc., a consumer-facing online decision engine, has raised $12 million in Series B funding. Khosla Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backers Bessemer Venture Partners and General Catalyst. Khosla partner Gideon Yu, former CFO of Facebook, will join the Hunch board of directors. www.hunch.com
Yesterday, I wrote up part of my recent interview with Chris Dixon, an active seed-stage investor and the CEO of Hunch, a year-old consumer Web application company that Dixon formed with Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake.
Hunch is a giant recommendation engine that aims to help users make up their minds, be it about a camera or what favors to serve at a Palm Springs party. Right now, a registered user base of roughly 200,000 people contribute most of the questions; they also populate the answers, a la Wikipedia. (In fact, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales joined Hunch’s board of directors in December.)
Hunch also relies heavily on proprietary algorithms that gets smarter over time, so that ideally, when someone arrives at Hunch with a question in mind, they’re served answers by users with similar preferences to their own.
Dixon, 38, thinks Hunch can be as big a leader in search technology as Google and Amazon someday, once it gets over some initial kinks, like making it easier for people to find and understand the service. The second part of my interview with Dixon follows:
Chris Dixon, 38, may be the ultimate founder’s founder.
He’s running his second startup, Hunch, after selling his first company, SiteAdvisor, for $74 million dollars four years ago. He’s an active angel investor in nascent startups and co-founded the $40 million seed-stage fund, Founder Collective, last year. He’s a champion of the early-stage scene in New York, where he lives and works. And Dixon, who’s as connected as they come on both coasts, is a prolific blogger who writes in plain English about the challenges of entrepreneurship, technology and venture capital.
I talked with Dixon this afternoon about how he juggles his life as an investor with that of running a company that aims to be as big as Google and Amazon some day — once it works out some kinks.
What follows is Dixon on investing. Tomorrow, I’ll post our conversation about Hunch, which Dixon launched last year with Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake:
Recently, there was a widely read post by a New York entrepreneur who argued persuasively that New York is still a tough place to launch a startup — unless you’re “Chris Dixon or anyone else who’s already built a successful company and had a real exit under their belt.” Do you agree? Disagree?
I do think there should be more seed investors, which is partly why we formed Founder Collective last year, a fund that’s location agnostic but mainly focused on New York area startups. There’s no lack of money in New York; there are plenty of rich people. But there hasn’t been the kind of smart money, if you will, that understands how to help a company get to the next stage and raise VC after seed money. You’re starting to see more of that — New York is improving — but I’m not in radical disagreement with him.