AboutUs Raises $2.5M from Voyager Capital to Create Collaborative Guide to the Web
The Internet software firm AboutUs, based in Portland, OR, announced today it has raised $2.5 million in Series A funding from Seattle-based Voyager Capital. Voyager managing director Erik Benson has joined the company’s board. The deal closed the day before Thanksgiving. But the real story here is what AboutUs is trying to do, and why there has been some buzz about the startup in recent months.
I spoke with Raymond King, the founder and CEO of AboutUs, about that yesterday. First, a quick back story on King, who is a seasoned entrepreneur. He originally moved to Portland in 2000 after selling his first software company, New York-based Semaphore, to Deltek (NASDAQ: DLTK). For King, an MIT alum and native New Yorker, the move to the Northwest was all about quality of life. “You don’t spend too much time stuck in traffic here,” he says. (At least when I-5 isn’t flooded.)
King co-founded SnapNames in 2000, and ran the Portland company as chief executive until mid-2005. It was acquired by Oversee.net in 2007 for a reported $35 million. By then, King had moved on to AboutUs, which he started in 2006 with the idea of creating a Wiki-based guide to all the websites on the Internet.
Go to AboutUs.org and you’ll find a page for almost every website out there. There is basic information about companies and people—addresses, contacts, summaries—and it’s all editable, Wiki-style, by anyone. The aim is to get clients, vendors, and bloggers, say, to add content to its pages about companies. “The Web 2.0 version of an AboutUs page should invite participation,” says King.
At first, this might sound like just another Wiki or social-networking site. But the plan is much deeper that that. “Our long-term mission revolves around transforming the way people work,” King says. “What we’ll focus on in 2009 is correlating all the like pages and interests, to form a topological map of the Web.” That will help people “discover other folks who have similar interests,” he says. Benson calls this “fostering a community culture while building a ‘system of truth’ for information on businesses worldwide.”
It sounds like AboutUs wants to redefine how people find and share information online, … Next Page »