Four months after launching its website, Kansas City, Kan.-based startup Leap.it has closed on a $1.1 million convertible note.
That funding pushes the total amount raised by the Kansas City Startup Village company to $3 million. Founded in 2011, the startup originally launched under the name Leap2 as a search engine for mobile devices.
“When we first got started on this whole thing, we were interested in reinventing mobile search,” said Tyler VanWinkle, Leap.it’s director of product and marketing.
VanWinkle, who has been with Leap.it since its founding, said the company saw an opportunity to expand its original idea to web search. Leap.it offers a social and visual search engine, and populates results with web, social and curated content in real-time, he said.
“We’re trying to provide users with something useful,” VanWinkle said.
The web version of Leap.it launched in late February and has nearly 3 million users to date. The site also attracted investors, notably Brad Feld, a managing partner with the Boulder, Colo.-based venture capital firm Foundry Group. Feld has served as a mentor for the company and helped “turn the technology into what it is today,” VanWinkle said. With backing from the Foundry Group’s AngelList syndicate, FG Angel, Leap.it surpassed its original $750,000 fundraising goal.
By the end of the year, VanWinkle said the company hopes to grow to more than 150 million users. The company is also actively seeking Series A funding of $3-5 million.
The search engine especially appeals to a visual and young audience, VanWinkle said, taking web discovery to a new level.
“I don’t understand why the gateway to the Internet isn’t as visual as the Internet,” VanWinkle said.