Friendster Gets $20 Million and a New CEO

August 5th, 2008 at 12:00 am


Friendster gets new funding to the sound of $20 million and a new CEO from Google.

Looks like Friendster is on a roll today.  They just announced that they’ve completed a Venture round with IDG Ventures, Kleiner Perkions, Benchmark Capital DAG Ventures and Founders Fund, pumping in $20 million.  Moreover, they hired an ex-Googler to be their CEO, Richard Kimber, former regional managing director for South Asia.

Friendster is one of the pioneering, if not the pioneer, of the social networks we know today.  MySpace, Facebook, Orkut etc. all follow Friendster’s template.  However, Friendster never made it big in the US being overtaken by MySpace then Facebook who now shere top spots in the US market.  On the brightside, Friendster did find its breaks in Asia.  Currently it is now the number 1 social network in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines with over 33 million active members from that region alone.

This makes sense  hiring Richard Kimber from Google.  Kimber already has experience making money for Google in Asia and Friendster surely needs that wisdom to help them monetize their social network in the region.

"Friendster is growing at an enormous rate in Asia-Pacific and is clearly leading the competition. I believe this is partly because the Internet is transforming the lives of everyone, and it will probably become one of the greatest liberators of our time," Kimber said in a statement that seemed tinged with mild political undertones. "I look forward to growing our business further, as we continue our global growth and strong focus on Asia."

The latest round of funding will be used to hire more employees in Asia and open more offices in the region.  Kimber said that he’ll be maintaining executive presence in Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Personally, I’ve a Friendster account that I once kept updated back in 2003 to 2007, however, I’ve now shifted to Facebook.  But with this looming new zeal that Friendster is bringing to the table (not to mention the new features I saw when I logged in recently), it may be possible that my Friendster activity may increase.