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March 16, 2009

Ning Get Some Zing

Internet Company Joins Half Billion Dollar Club in Series D Round

Formerly known as 24 Hour Laundry, Ning was co-founded by entrepreneur Marc Andreessen and Gina Bianchini in October 2004.   Today, Ning offers a social networking platform (Your Own Social Network for Anything) with features that the user can customize independently, allowing both individuals and groups the freedom to create their own social network for their specific needs and use. 

The ideology for the company is to offer a customizable social experience with no effort, no cost, and a variety of choices.  Calling itself the “Home Depot of the Software World”, Ning offers an array of features at the touch of a button. Ning users can easily build their social network by adding features such as video, newly expanded chat functionality, photo albums, music, groups, blogs, member pages, e-mail notifications, events and custom privacy features.

Ning’s business model concentrates on the placement of Google ads in its sites and the sale of its add-on services to social networks.  In a highly competitive environment, Ning attained an increase of 368% in growth over the past year.  This growth estimate was reached even after Ning deleted a portion of its business from their adult social network market in December. At the end of February, Ning was reported to support approximately 900,000 social networks with growth projected at approximately 4,000 networks per day. 

Located in Palo Alto, California with an employee base of 80, Ning is led by Marc Andreessen as Chairman and Gina Bianchini as the Chief Executive Officer.  Mr. Andreessen is a multi-million dollar software engineer best known as the co-author of Mosaic .  Gina Bianchini is the Chief Executive Officer of Ning with previous experience as CMO and Co-Founder of Harmonic Communications. Chief Technology Officer is Diego Doval and Senior Vice President of Engineering is Jay Parikh who leads tech development, engineering and operations teams. 

Since inception, Ning has received a steady supply of capital funding.   Co-founder Marc Andreessen led the “Series A Round” of venture funding in 2007 with $1.7 million.  Also in 2007, Ning raised an additional $8.8 Million from Marc Andreessen.  2007’s “Series C Round” venture funding raised $44 million from investors Legg Mason, T. Rowe Price, CBS, and Marc Andreessen.  “Series D Round“ venture capital funding was held in 2008 with $65 Million funded from one undisclosed lead investor, T. Rowe Price and Morgan Stanley. In April 2008, Ning joined the Half Billion Dollar Club raising a total of $60 Million net on a $500 Million pre-money valuation.

Competitors include:  CrowdVine, ONEsite, Broadband Mechanics, CollectiveX, Wetpaint, Webjam, GROU.PS, Crowd Factory, SocialGO, Pluck, and WackWall.

Demonstrating their commitment to safe environments, Ning participates with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, The Family Online Institute, Connect Safely, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology.