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April 27, 2009

Wetpaint, An Internet Company Coming Out of an Individual’s Battle With Cancer

Wetpaint is a service which is able to power websites that are aimed for collaborative thinking.  The unique thing about Wetpaint is that it allows anyone, especially people who do not have any computer or internet skills, to create websites for those and by those that share a given interest.  What is the most interesting thing about Wetpaint is that the idea of its inception came from the founders of the company when one of their friends was diagnosed with cancer.  The founders of Wetpaint saw how their friend was having great difficulty finding information about the type of cancer he had.  He did find quite a bit of useful facts and information, but he also found a lot of information that he did not need or want.  That is when the idea for Wetpaint was sprung.  The founders had thought that setting up a company that could connect like minded people or people that share like interests.

Wetpaint was founded in June of 2005 and employs 20 people.  Wetpaint is based in Seattle, Washington and its management team consists of four people, who are: Ben Elowitz, CEO; Kevin Flaherty, VP of Marketing; Alex Berg, VP of User Experience, and Chris Kollas, VP of Business Development.  Wetpaint’s investors are Trinity Ventures, Frazier Technical Ventures, Accel Partners, and DAG Ventures. 

On July 12, 2007, Wetpaint won a place on Time Magazine’s “50 Best Websites” list because of its user friendly website and services.  Time Magazine selects websites for this list that are the newest and most exciting websites online.  The main reason that Time Magazine chose Wetpaint as one of the websites to be on this list is because Wetpaint makes it unbelievably easy for anyone, including someone who is not tech savvy, to create a wiki or contribute to one.  What made this even a more interesting site for Time is that even companies, such as Food & Wine Magazine, CBS, and T-Mobile have wikies on Wetpaint.

On May 19, 2008, Wetpaint raised $25 million lead by DAG Ventures to accelerate its growth.  In this round of financing Accel Partners, Trinity Ventures, and Frazier Technical Ventures.   According to John Cadedu, General Partner at DAG Ventures, Wetpaint has managed to get regular users, who are not tech savvy, to publish on the web and find other people who have the same interests.  It is quite obvious that Wetpaint gets more than half a billion of pieces of content and has many media contributions that is just fueling its growth.

Wetpaint does have some competitors.  Some of the more prominent competitors include Wikia, MindTouch, DoodleKit, PBWiki, Socialtext, and Soceeo.com.

Wikia is a support and hosting company that is dedicated to the creation of large community wikis and is setting up its websites in over 100 different languages.   Wikia is based in San Francisco, California and employs 50 people.  The company has three people on its management team.

MindTouch is a company that provides innovative wiki technology that allows for easy collaboration and development.  MindTouch also takes wikis to the Web 2.0 level of quality.  MindTouch is a privately owned corporation that was founded in December of 2004 and is based in San Diego, California.  MindTouch has two people on its management team and three people on its board of directors.

DoodleKit offers users to build their own webpages online for free and gets its revenues from advertising.  DoodleKit states that their main goal is to get web beginners to make their own webpages look professional.   DoodleKit is based in Kansas City, Missouri and is a privately owned LLC with two people on its management team.

PBWiki is one of the world’s largest wiki farms and was founded by three Stanford students in June of 2005 and is based in San Mateo, California.  PBWiki is a privately owned company with four people on its management team and five people on its board of directors.

Socialtext is a software company that makes collaboration software for businesses and organizations.  Socialtext was founded in December of 2002 and is based in Palo Alto, California.  Socialtext is a privately owned company that has four people on its management team and five people on its board of directors.

Soceeo.com is a privately owned LLC that creates a customizable social networking tool for people, businesses, and organizations.  Soceeo.com was founded in June of 2008 and is based in Chicago, IL.  The company employs two people and has one person in its management.

For more information on Wetpaint, ckick here.