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August 31, 2009

Rock with Cool Slideshows on RockYou.com

Filed under: Start-up Companies Reviews — admin @ 1:04 am

Lately the craze of social networks, which has taken off with the bigger social networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace, seems to be getting bigger with more different social networks for all kinds of different tastes. Founded in 2006, RockYou is an interesting social network that allows you to create your own slideshows, add glitter text, music and much more. Furthermore, RockYou also has all kinds of widgets available, that you can attach to your other social network accounts, such as Twitter and the others.

To be able to use the services provided by RockYou, you need to register your email and it is free. RockYou gets most of its revenues through advertising. To register, you need to first type in your email address and then the password of your email account. This can be something of concern to some people, but the company site states that your email password will not be saved; it’s just to verify that your email account exists. Once you have taken those steps, you will be prompted to enter and confirm a RockYou password and then state the country that you live in and either your zip or postal code. Once you have completed those steps, you are in. You will also receive an email from RockYou, welcoming you as a new member.

Once you have logged into your account on RockYou, you can create your own slideshow by uploading photos from your computer and you can even select several different transitions. Furthermore, the photos that you can upload cannot be any more that 3 MB in size.

There is a slight problem with how the slide show works on RockYou. You upload the photos from your computer and then, when you click the save button, you get a message that you do not have any slideshow to save. Furthermore, when you choose to go back to the slideshow, it takes for ever for the slideshow to load back up.

Besides creating your own slideshows, RockYou also allows you to create widgets for all the different social networks available. Below the slideshow creation feature, you will notice that there are different widgets which are available for most of the major social networks. Widgets are available for Facebook, MySpace, HI5, Friendster, Orkut, Bebo, and more. To find out what other social networks you need, click on the more button, but you will find more of the same.

RockYou is a privately owned corporation that is based in Redwood City, California and employs 75 people. RockYou has six people on its management team. These people include Lance Tokuda, CEO and cofounder; Jia Shen, CTO and cofounder; Ro Choy, CRO; Steve Van Horne, CFO; Lisa Marino, Vice President of Sales; and Mihir Shah, Vice President of Ad Network.

The two cofounders of the company, as mentioned above, are Lance Tokuda and Jia Shen.

Along with being both a cofounder and CEO of RockYou, Mr. Tokuda has over 15 years of experience in software and management, which he brings to the company. Furthermore, before taking part in the founding of RockYou, Mr. Tokuda worked for several consumer and web services companies, such as Iconix and Open Harbor, where he held key executive positions in both companies. Mr. Tokuda was also an early employee at Resumix, which was later acquired by Yahoo! and is now known as Yahoo! Hot Jobs.

Besides being the other cofounder, Jia Shen is also the company’s CTO and is in charge of RockYou’s technical functions. Like Mr. Tokuda, Mr. Shen also worked at Iconix, where he served as the engineering manager. Mr. Shen also held key positions at Open Harbor, BlueDog, and Bell Laboratories. Furthermore, Mr. Shen is highly experienced in enterprise sales and services while working for large companies, such as Tyco, Flextronics, and DHL.

RockYou’s investors include Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital, and First Round Capital, which invested $1.5 million in series A funding in June of 2006. Lightspeed Venture Partners and Sequoia Capital were returning investors and were joined by Partech International in funding the company in $15 million series B funding in May of 2007. RockYou received more funding rounds later with Doll Capital Management or DCM being the sole investor in a $1 million convertible debt funding round in May of 2008. DCM was then joined by Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Partech International as returning investors along with new investors, Softbank Japan and SK Telecom Ventures in a $67 million series C funding in June of 2008.

Sequoia Capital is a world class vc firm that primarily invests in early stage companies in the tech industry. Sequoia Capital is managed by some of North America’s best known entrepreneurs, such as Apple’s Steve Jobbs, Oracle’s Larry Emerson, and other well known entrepreneurs. Some other companies in Sequoia Capital’s portfolio include Alfa & Omega, Aricent, Dropbox, FireEye, Loopt, R2, Jasper, Stoke, StrongMail, and others.

Lighspeed Venture Partners is a multinational vc firm that has its headquarters in Menlo Park, California, and also has offices in Shanghai and Beijing China; New Delhi, India; and Herzliya Pertuach, Israel. Lightspeed Venture Partners currently has over $2 billion of committed capital under its management. Some other companies in Lightspeed’s portfolio include 4Interactive, Aerohive, AMEC, Audio Pixels, Bling Nation, and others.

With over $850 million under its management, Partech International is a leading international vc firm which operates in the United States, Europe, and Israel. Partech International is very selective in the industry that it invests in. Partech solely invests in the IT industry. Some other companies in Partech’s portfolio include Bocada, Brands4Friends, DecisionView, Jaspersoft Software, Spoke, TV Trip, and others.

DCM is an early stage vc firm that has the mission to turn entrepreneurs and their ideas into world class companies. DCM currently has $1.6 billion under its management and has helped build some of the world’s best known companies and operates in the United States, China, and Japan. Some other companies in DCM’s portfolio include @motion, 2Wire, About.com, AdSpace, Embark, GoodMail, and others.

Because RockYou is in an industry that has become a massively growing industry for a while, it is no surprise that RockYou would have quite a bit of competition. Some of RockYou’s most noteworthy competitors include Animoto, WidgetBucks, and CoolApps.

Animoto provides a service similar to RockYou and was founded in 2007. Animoto is a privately owned corporation which is based in New York City. Animoto has four people on its management team with Amazon being its sole known investor.

WidgetBucks is a service that also creates widgets for most of the big social networks. Unlike Animoto, WidgetBucks creates widgets for shoppers. WidgetBucks was founded in 2005 and is a subsidiary of Mpire.

CoolApps is a company that develops different apps for Facebook and is a subsidiary of Insider Guides. One of the things that this company advertises is that you are able to own your friends and are able to put yourself on the market and see how much you are worth. If you currently click on the CoolApps website, you will notice an advertisement that the company is currently hiring developers of Facebook apps.

For more information about RockYou, click here.

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