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01/25/2007

Wikio Secures $5.3 Million in Series A Funding

Wikio, operator of the popular personalized Web information page announced recently it has closed a Series A round of funding totaling $5.3 million. Lightspeed Venture Partners along with Gemini Israel Funds led the financing round.

Wikio, launched in France last June, and currently operating sites in France, United States, Germany, Italy and Spain, is the first European blog and media search engine. To date, Wikio’s fast growing audience has reached nearly one million monthly unique users.

The new round of financing will enable Wikio to expand globally, and deliver the most innovative and customizable information service on the web. Aggressive investment in R&D and operations will enhance product development and accelerate the company’s already rapid growth. The launch of the Wikio UK site is planned for the second quarter of 2007, followed by additional European and American sites.

Wikio is the brainchild of CEO Laurent Binard, founder of Mediapps (European Software Publisher) and chairman Pierre Chappaz, renowned French entrepreneur, former Yahoo Europe President, founder of Kelkoo (leading European shopping search engine) and co-CEO of Netvibes (leading customizable portal). Chappaz says, “Blogs and information are my passion, and I am a great believer in personalization. With thousands and thousands of professional and amateur sources of information available on the Web, our mission is to provide Internet users with a powerful search tool that they can easily tune according to their needs and their centers of interest. For many Europeans, Wikio has already become their personal information page!”

“The tremendous growth and popularity of Wikio boils down to its innovative product. Personalizing and organizing information in a compelling way is becoming an increasingly important tool for consumers,” said Yoni Cheifetz, partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners. “Coupled with the company’s strong business model, we’re in a very good position to help Wikio become a leading information platform for European and global customers.”

Ouriel Ohayon, general manager of the Lightspeed Gemini Internet Lab (www.lgilab.com) and editor of the French version of TechCrunch explains, “Personalized news and search is a very competitive and fast growing sector. The popularity of user-generated content creates the demand for better tools to find relevant information. Wikio's innovative service and rapid growth will make it one of the global leaders in its field.” Along with Chappaz and Binard, Yoni Cheifetz, and Ouriel Ohayon will join the board of directors.

Based on Web 2.0 technologies such as information feeds (RSS), Ajax (for personalization) and semantic search, Wikio combines powerful search features with advanced tag navigation. Users influence the results of the Wikio Index of thousands of editorial blogs and professional media items by voting, commenting and publishing their own posts. The service also allows users to easily create and build their own personalized webpage of information based on tags (keywords including semantics) that they select. Its business model relies on sponsored links and monetization of commercial searches.

For more information, please visit: www.wikio.com