Dec 2, 2008

Business - connects users of multiple social networks

Patricia Resende

A Brazil-based startup says it has a solution for users of multiple social networks like Facebook, MySpace and others who want to access the Web sites on one portal., which has backing from veteran technology investors, has been operating in stealth mode for users in India and Brazil, but now wants to woo U.S.-based users.

The Web site synchronizes friends, messages, photos and updates from multiple social-network, e-mail and instant-messaging accounts, according to Steve Vachani, chief executive of The site, which does not charge for its service, supports users on Facebook, MySpace, Hi5, MSN Messenger, Orkut and YouTube. Future support will include LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, AOL and Skype, according to the company.

"We're taking down the boundaries between social sites, so users can keep in touch and even synchronize friends and photos automatically," Vachani said. "Social is about people, not about place. So we're making the virtual 'where' irrelevant."

Moving Stateside

While's leaders have quietly grown the user base to five million and their employees to 70, the current plan is to expand that user base beyond Brazil and India. Looking at its current growth rate, the company expects to have more than 30 million registered users by the end of 2009. is reaching out to users by placing ads on messages sent through the service, inviting users to ask their friends to join, and adding links to members' social-network profile pages.

Vachani may have to prove the strength behind to potential users, but it has already captured the attention of investors and technologists who have provided the first round of funding.

Menlo Park, Calif.-based Draper Fischer Jurvetson, which has backed companies like Hotmail and Skype, has invested $6 million in Private investors, including Esther Dyson, have backed the company with another $2 million. Dyson's investments include Flickr, Delicious and Voxiva.

"I don't want to be too grandiose, but I think people are discovering the complexities of managing their presence across so many different services, and Power provides them a useful -- and dare I say it, powerful! -- tool for doing so," Dyson said in an e-mail to us. "Just as search was once special but people now talk about finding ways to filter things -- whether searches or mail -- so is it now easy to interact online -- but we now need tools to manage all those social interactions."

Strength Behind Power

Vachani is no stranger to technology startups. The entrepreneur has started three small businesses generating more than $4 million in combined revenue while receiving multiple degrees in political science and business at the University of California Berkley, according to the company. In the past 13 years he has launched five Internet Web sites which generated a combined 70 million registered users, including Freelotto, FreeRazor, MedSN and Collaborative Drug Discovery.

Vachani has also led Internet marketing and auction company Qool Media for eight years.

After a decade of being an entrepreneur and startup chief executive in Silicon Valley and New York, Vachani moved to Brazil, where he spent three years exploring his interests in social entrepreneurship, politics, dance, arts, music, international trade, and more, he said.

1 comment:

tanyaa said...

Virtual and online communities have become a supplemental form of communication between people who know each other primarily in real life. Significant socio-technical change may have resulted from the proliferation of such Internet-based social networks.
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