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Friendster – Profile

July 15, 2004

friendster logo.bmp
HQ: Mountain View, CA
Founded: 2003
Management: Company has replaced founder/CEO Jonathan Abrams with Scott Sassa, former NBC President. John Doerr, Bob Kagle, and Tim Koogle are on the board.
Investors: The company has raised a total of $13M at a $50M valuation from Kleiner Perkins, Benchmark, Battery and individual investors. Seed round came from Reid Hoffman, CEO of Linked-in and Roger Lee a VC with Battery Investors. Company passed on Google’s $30M offer. Gulp.
Business Model: Friendster is currently the largest of the social networks with upwards of 8M members, however, the company has seen a drop-off in members and a leveling of traffic. It’s also unclear how many of the 8M are active users. At fund raising time, Friendster had 1.7M unique visitors and traffic has fallen to about a million in the summer of 2004. The dip could be attributed to: slow site, excessive censorship, competition, or a passing trend.
Competitors: Match.com, Orkut, AOL ICQ Universe, Microsoft Wallop, Yahoo Groups and soon to be launched Yahoo products.
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Dirt: Appearance is that Friendster built an early lead but is blowing it. Meanwhile, comparables like Craig’s List and MeetUp have maintained good buzz. VC Bill Burnham enjoys taking down Friendster and its ilk for not having defensible position – no app, no business. $30M from Google? How ya like me now?

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