Price comparison website is set to bring in revenue for the first time - and is gearing up for a European roll-out next year.

The site, which compares prices at Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Ocado, and is claimed to have more than 140,000 regular users, received a £3m boost from venture capitalist firms Greylock Partners and Pitango earlier this week.

The money will be used to launch an advertising feature on the site which will be targeted at retailers and food manufacturers. It will also pay for marketing and back the foray on to the Continent.

The site, which cost a seven-figure sum to set up last October, has not generated a penny since launch. But the latest cash injection was a "huge endorsement" of the business model, said company director Johnny Stern.

"The advertising possibilities for retailers and manufacturers will enable us to finally start generating some revenue," he said.

"It will have to be implemented with great care, as it is critical that we retain our neutrality.

"The sponsored information must be clearly separated from the neutral. There are far too many other price comparison websites which confuse shoppers by mixing up the two."

The company was in talks with major manufacturers and retailers but would be "taking things slowly at first", he added.

Funds would also be put towards structured marketing of the site, which until now had relied only on word of mouth.

The portal would remain free in principle for shoppers - although they could be charged in future for the use of new, premium features on the site.

Meanwhile, the "huge success" of the site in the UK convinced investors a similar concept would be well received on the Continent.

"Our investors have international ambitions," Stern said. "They see the potential of transporting the model to different markets."

The company had already received "a large amount of interest" from retailers in other countries.

Part of the latest investment would be used to expand the company's development team to support its entry into Europe.