Dear Cliqz friends,
on April 29, 2020 we’ve announced with a heavy heart the Cliqz story is over. It is a terrible decision, but it is the only one possible. There is no future for Cliqz as it is today.
People asked us over the last years how Cliqz could fail. This question was easy to answer. In fact, it was always much more likely to fail than to succeed. But we still tried — knowing we would most likely, maybe surely fail.
We overcame so many challenges: Would we be able to attract the best talent to really build a new, private search engine from scratch? Could we get the right data to train a search engine? Would we have sufficient capital? Would we actually manage to build a search engine with a decent quality without using short-cuts or someone else’s index (like all other alternative search engines)? We beat the odds many times.
But not this time: We didn’t see a pandemic coming. We didn’t expect that a virus could have impact on Cliqz. And even just one and a half months ago, we completely underestimated what this would do to the economy and even more so to the political priorities. It became clear to us in the last weeks, that all political initiatives to create an independent European digital infrastructure have been stalled or postponed for years. Covid-19 is overshadowing everything. This is not a climate where we will have any meaningful discussion about a public funding of a solution like Cliqz.
And even though our story ends here, we do not regret it at all. We have built so much great technologies over the last years: Browsers that protect users’ privacy. Human Web, which is a truly revolutionary way to combine the need for training data with the fundamental right to privacy. Our unique quick search feature that allows you to search directly in the browser. A new approach that brings together targeted advertising and privacy. The most powerful anti-tracking and content blocking technology. And of course our search engine. Our goal was to build one of the few truly independent search engines. We´ve built it from scratch, we did not just use someone else’s index. It works. And it comes with 100% privacy, from scratch. We´ve beat all odds. We´ve beat all people telling us that it will cost us billions.
Yet, we failed to make people truly aware of the problem; we failed to reach a scale that would allow our search engine to be self-financing. We have reached several hundred thousand daily users. But — and this is the disadvantage of running our own technology — this is not enough to run a search engine, to cover our costs. And most of all, we failed to convince the political stakeholders, that Europe desperately needs an own independent digital infrastructure. Here we can only hope, that someone else, picks up the ball. It’s still true: Europe needs its own digital infrastructure. It’s still true: The world needs a private search engine that is not just using Bing or Google in the backend. It’s still true: The world deserves a better, fairer web. The pandemic did not change that.
We did not fail creating tremendous knowledge. We did not fail doing things completely different. We did not fail combining data and privacy. Most of all, we did not fail creating an amazing and passionate team around Cliqz.
We also owe a big thanks to Hubert Burda Media as a company, as an investor. Burda actually put money where their mouth was: believing a better Internet was possible. We couldn’t have hoped for a better partner.
We are proud of everyone, who worked at Cliqz and supported us. Thank you all so much for this journey. Thanks to all of our users for believing in us and giving us valuable feedback.
Thank you for believing in something that was unlikely from the beginning, but worth believing in.
The Cliqz story as we know it is over, but it was worth the ride.
Your Cliqz Team