hi5 may not be high up on your social networking radar – it barely registers a blip on mine – but that might change with the company receiving $20 million in its first round of venture capital.
According to Om Malik:
Hi5, a San Francisco-based social networking start-up is said to have raised about $20 million in its latest round of funding. The VC firm involved in this round of funding is said to be Mohr Davidow Ventures…The company co-founded by Ramu Yalamanchi, started out as a social-network-plus matrimonial site targeting the Indian diaspora, but later morphed into a social network, and since then has gained popularity in some Latin American countries, Mongolia, Tunisia and Romania.
In a quest to find out more, I headed to the hi5 site to see if I could figure out if it could challenge MySpace and Facebook. Unfortunately, I’m still scratching my head, apart from Sean Kingston (and his “Beautiful Girls”), I didn’t find anything that would make me believe hi5 could compete with the big dogs. A quick look at data from Lightspeed Venture Partners and things don’t look much better – hi5 is way behind in terms of average pages visits and pages per visitor.
Still, social networking is hot and trendy. $20M is a small investment, if the company can get to 1/10 the valuation of Facebook.