Qwant investment from Caisse des Dépôts, Axel Springer

Qwant, the search engine which respects your privacy, announces a 38.5 million euro round of financing

Qwant, the European search engine which protects the privacy of its users, raises a total of 38.5 million euro with the renewed support of Axel Springer of 3.5 million euro,  the new investment of Caisse des Dépôts as a public interest investor of 15 million euro a 20 million euro loan granted by The European Investment Bank (EIB).

This equity investment will allow the alternative search engine development in Europe. Qwant has its own indexing technology and guarantees the confidentiality of users' personal data. Its founders also participated in this round of financing and remain majority shareholders.

Regarding large-scale surveillance and invasive advertising which target each Internet user according to his or her personal profile, the general public is more and more sensitive to the need to keep control of its personal data on the Internet. Since its inception in 2013, the Qwant search engine has been driven by a philosophy of innovation The Qwant search engine protects its users' privacy by design. Convinced that a search engine must respect a loyalty principle in regard of the entire digital ecosystem it has to exchange with, the engine preserves neutrality in the display of its results. How? Qwant develops an independent technical architecture, audited by the French data protection authority (CNIL), to deliver impartial results without placing cookies on the user browser, and without using any tracking tool. Qwant boasts an impressive audience growth, doubling the number of visits year on year.

This challenger, which is already listed among the top 100 most frequented web services in France, develops its brand and its technologies by offering unique services. Qwant Junior offers a safe and educational search engine for children, while Qwant Music is primarily dedicated to music lovers seeking for contents and radio stations. The Qwant mobile app, launched earlier this year, available on Android and iOS, embeds a browser which offers a secure environment from search to online shopping. Convinced by the necessity to guarantee the security and anonymity of users and giving back its nobility to natural indexing, Caisse des Dépôts is committing to this project from a moral point of view. According to Gabrielle Gauthey, Director of local development and investment at Caisse des Dépôts, “our institution is  delighted to bring its committed support to this project, on a European scale, with which we share the ethical values”.

The German roup Axel Springer  re-invests in Qwant's search engine. Ulrich Schmitz, Managing Director of Axel Springer Digital Ventures, explains: “What we find exciting about Qwant is its innovative spirit and its strong focus on technological development. Through our engagement we hope to learn more, receive impulses as well as contribute to Qwant’s further development and growth in Europe.”

This second fund raising is an opportunity for Qwant to reinforce its expertise and its technological independence, benefiting the European sovereignty while also having the means necessary to a larger communication towards the general public.
“Thanks to the experience we have after launching in France and Germany, we are confident that we can quickly gain market share, with a search engine that answers its users concerns and carries high values”, says Eric Leandri, President of Qwant. “In addition to the renewed support of Axel Springer, we will now accelerate this growth with the confidence granted by Caisse des Dépôts, which guarantees these values”, adds Jean-Manuel Rozan, Vice-President.

In 2015, the European investment bank also decided to support Qwant up to 25 million euros. “As a financial institution, the bank of the European Union welcomes the investment of Caisse des Dépôts and Axel Springer in this new financing round. This operation shows illustrates the excellent cooperation between public and private institutions, at the national level as well as at the European level. This is a determining key element to support the growth of this startup".