AddSearch has found what you are looking for
Whatever you search for on a website, Finnish tech company AddSearch wants to make sure you get results quickly and reliably.
While internal website search tools were once a necessary evil, companies have recently woken up to the importance of a good search experience. Irrelevant or non-existent search results are a sure way to get potential customers annoyed, and, when annoyed, they leave. This is where Finnish software company AddSearch steps in. Its eponymous cloud-based search platform helps to ensure website and mobile app visitors find what they want.
“Companies have a lot of data and information online. We help them make it easy to find,” explains Antti Ala-Ilkka, AddSearch‘s founder and CEO. “With our platform, any organisation can implement a powerful search tool, and do it a lot faster and more cost-effectively than if they were building one from scratch.”
And companies have taken note. Launched in 2013, AddSearch is today used by over 1 800 organisations – including Fujifilm, Toyota and the City of Sydney – across 50 countries. The numbers are impressive for the 12-strong team based in Helsinki, but AddSearch has focused on international markets and customer satisfaction from the beginning. Its platform works in any language, automatically learns user behaviour and, with its latest release, offers highly personalised search results.
“We have a lot of customers who have different user groups: for example, consumer and business customers,” Ala-Ilkka says. “Personalised search means every user gets the most relevant search results for them.”
A taxing search
AddSearch was founded on Ala-Ilkka’s own frustrations. Seven years ago, he needed a new Finnish income-tax card and searched for the topic on the tax agency’s website.
“I got zero results through their internal search, even though it must have been one of their most popular topics. Then I Googled ‘an income-tax card’ and instantly found what I wanted,” Ala-Ilkka recalls. “This is where the business idea for better internal website searches came from.”
AddSearch was founded soon thereafter by Ala-Ilkka, Mikko Nurminen and Pasi Ilola. Ala-Ilkka and Nurminen had just sold their previous venture, an online tool for building websites called Kotisivukone, and they were ready for the next challenge. Initially, the founders targeted small and medium-sized companies. Customers could implement the AddSearch tool by paying a monthly fee and adding a few lines of code to their website.
While this remains an option, today AddSearch focuses on big organisations and creates bespoke tools tailored to their requirements.
“Big organisations typically have more complex needs,” Ala-Ilkka explains. “They might have data scattered across many services online and we must be able to get all this information into a single search engine.”
Search that never sleeps
AddSearch has customers around the world, but its main markets are English-speaking countries. Almost 70 per cent of its business comes from Canada and the US, with the UK and Australia close behind.
“North America is a challenging market with very demanding customers. But if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere,” Ala-Ilkka enthuses.
Currently, AddSearch has one American employee and is planning additional hires. But the company is not in a rush. Ala-Ilkka explains that the benefit of a cloud-based service is you can base it anywhere, as long as you don’t mind working around time differences.
This hasn’t been an issue for AddSearch. And it is this philosophy, committed hard work and product focus which Ala-Ilkka believes have made the company successful.
“It is where our strength lies,” Ala-Ilkka concludes. “Any organisation with a lot of data is a potential customer to us.”
Text: Eeva Haaramo
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