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May 5, 2009

Disqus Brings Discussions Online

Disqus is a privately owned company that provides online discussion forums to its users. The company’s name, disqus is actually pronounced “discuss” and provides a network solely for the purpose of online discussions and comments. What is so unique about Disqus is that its service can be used in almost all the major social networks out there by being plugged into any website, blog or application. Disqus is based in San Francisco, California and its three cofounders are Daniel Ha, Jason Yan, and David Ha.

Besides being one of the cofounders of Disqus, Daniel HA is also the company’s CEO. Jason Yan is also a cofounder of the company and also works at the company as its CTO. David Ha is the company’s third cofounder and it is not disclosed what other position he holds if any at the company. Other members of Disqus’s management team also include Andrew Badr, Engineer; Giannii Calvert, Community Manager; Ro Gupta, Vice President of Business Development; Anton Kovalyov, Engineer; and Devin Naquin, Engineer.

Disqus’s investors are Y Combinator, which participated in the company’s seed funding with an undisclosed amount and then in March of 2008, Disqus received series A funding of $500,000 from several different vc firms, which include Naval Ravikant, Aydin Senkut, Union Square Ventures, and Bridge Partners.

Naval Ravikant works at Vast.com as the company’s chairman and is also a venture capitalist who works with entrepreneurs and advises fledgeling companies. Besides Disqus, Naval Ravikant has also invested in Mesmo.tv, Twitter, and Circle of Mom.

Aydin Senkut is also a venture capitalist, who founded Felicis Ventures where he is also the president of the vc firm. Mr. Senkut has been an angel investor since 2005 and has invested in several promising startups in his career as a venture capitalist. Mr. Senkut has invested in more than 30 different companies, that include Buzz Logic, Cake Financial, Justin.tv, Dogster, Mint, and others.

Y Combinator is a vc firm that advertises itself as a new kind of vc firm and mainly focuses on early stage venture funding of companies in the software and internet services industries. What makes Y Combinator unique as a vc firm is that all of its investors are tech junkies as well, so the knowledge and experience of software and internet services is deep -- an additional benefit for startups with an innovative program or service. Y Combinator is based in Mountain View, California and has four managing partners.

Based in New York City, Union Square Ventures is a vc firm that focuses its investments on early stage companies and the industry of choice is IT, Media Marketing, Telecommunications, and Healthcare. Union Square Ventures likes to invest in the type of entrepreneur who can use technology in innovative ways to make a business that can grow in the marketplace. Some of Union Square Ventures’ portfolio companies include 10Gen, Adaptive Blue, AMEE, Boxee, Clickable, Covestor, Esty, and others.

Disqus has four major competitors, which are SaysWho, Intense Debate, Tangler, JS-Kit. SaysWho is a privately owned company which was founded in 2007, in Los Altos, California. The company employs nine people, three people on its management, and one person on its board of directors. SaysWho offers a service that uses a WordPress or Movable Type plug-in which its users can sort out each other’s comments, help good comments from blabber, and also allows the users on the network to build reputations about a given comment on the site.

Another competitor of Disqus is Intense Debate which is a subsidiary of Automatic. Intense Debate was founded in December of 2006 and based in Boulder, Colorado. The company employs three people and has three people on its management team. The service that Intense Debate provides is a blog commenting network, similar to Disqus and SaysWho, which has Typepad and WordPress features.

A third major competitor of Disqus is Tangler, which is a privately owned company that was founded in February 2006 and based in both Australia and Mountain View, California. The company has two people on its management team and offers a forum service like Disqus does.

JS-Kit is another competitor of Disqus and is a privately owned company which employs 13 people, has two people on its management team, and is based in Hillsborough, California. The company creates widgets that can add interactivity to a users website or blog.

For more information about Disqus, click here.