Lior Levin hails from the troubled country of Israel, which despite the continual territorial tensions with its neighbours was recently ranked by the Economist Intelligence Unit as the 9th most innovative country in the world in 2008. That innovation has also spawned a vibrant Israeli startup culture, which Lior belongs to.
Lior is one of the co-founders of Status Search, a social status search engine currently in beta that allows users to perform searches within Twitter and Facebook status updates. The founders are all 20-something entrepreneurs who have worked in successful Israeli start-ups (such as Aniboom and 5min) in the past. Status Search is Lior’s second startup – his first was Veedda in 2007. Lior was even once named as one of the “Most Promising Entrepreneurs in Israel” by TheMarker business magazine for 2008!
So how is the service different from, say, the search function you can find within Facebook? “Status Search is for anything you would prefer searching in your friends’ updates rather than on the web: books, vacations, flights, beer, a party, a job and much more,” says Lior. He explains that the basic philosophy behind the service is that there so much valuable information within social networks that a search engine for that information can be very useful.
“When we present people the option to search their friends status updates, they immediately see how they can benefit from it. People know search and the value they can get from it.” Lior adds that people who use more than one social network are those most likely to benefit from Status Search. He admits, however, that one key challenge is to educate the market about searching their friends status updates.
It has, after a month in private beta, signed up about 400 users that perform around 550 searches a day.
Lior says their business model revolves around partnering with big websites and portals who are looking to integrate their social search service and incorporate that functionally to their users, and do a revenue share with them. “We’re already talking with a few and looking to talk to anyone who is interested in offering this kind of search engine to their users,” he reveals.
Status Search is currently self-funded and is trying to reach profitability on its own. “We’re talking to some investors these days but we’re waiting for a good deal. We’re not in a hurry,” says Lior.