Saturday, January 22, 2011

Eduardo Saverin Leads Qwiki’s $8 Million Round

Eduardo Saverin, the co-founder of Facebook who sued the tech company to get his name back on the masthead, is now investing in a new social network called Qwiki.“I am in a situation today where I can do what I love, which is help other entrepreneurs,” Saverin told the New York Times. “Facebook has been a big thing and will be a big thing. Qwiki is early stage, but they are on the path to be a game changer.

”The tech blogosphere, though, has been less than pleased lately with Google's search results. Among the complaints, Vivek Wadhwa, a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley's School of Information, charged in a TechCrunch post this month that Google has become "a tropical paradise for spammers and marketers.""Almost every search takes you to websites that want you to click on links that make them money, or to sponsored sites that make Google money," Wadhwa wrote.Joining Saverin in the round is Jawed Karim (the third co-founder of YouTube and an investor in Qwiki’s previous $1.5 million seed round), Pradeep Sindhu (the co-founder of Juniper Networks), the Greylock Discovery Fund (which is run by Reid Hoffman), Lerer Ventures, Tugboat Ventures, and Contour Ventures.

(Felix Venture Partners, which was mentioned in a related SEC filing, is creating a pooled fund for some of the individual investors).It is telling that a hot startup like Qwiki went with a wealthy individual as a lead investor instead of a venture capital firm. The funding is extremely founder-friendly, with Qwiki management retaining full control over the company. No voting board seats were given to any of the investors. However, Saverin will get an observer seat on the board, along with seed investor Pejman Nozad. The voting members of the board are co-founders Doug Imbruce and Louis Monier, along with the primary seed investor Bobby Yazdani. Other seed investors include Shervin Pishevar, Keith Rabois, Elad Gil, and Mike Brown.Imbruce told The Huffington Post that Saverin reached out to the startup after seeing Qwiki's presentation at TechCrunch Disrupt, then the three "sat down in New York over drinks," where they connected over their belief that Qwiki has the potential to change the Web much as the social graph, pioneered by Facebook, has over the past several years."Eduardo is a visionary investor," Imbruce said. "He shares the Qwiki vision and wants to make another big impact."The company hopes to entice third-party content creators, from real estate agents to bloggers, to used Qwicki to put together interactive presentations.

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