Here is an interesting video from the pre-IPO social media space. TechCrunch writer Alexia Tsotsis talks to StumbleUpon fonder Garrett Camp about its latest funding round in which it raised $17 million from August Capital and Accel Partners amongst others in a Series B second stage funding round. StumbleUpon is a social bookmarking service that delivers web pages matched to its users personal preferences based on recommendations. Think of it as a combination of Delicious and Google. The company was started and received $1.5 million in funding in 2005, but it was bought by eBay in 2007 for $75 million. Then it was sold back to its founders in 2009 as eBay was doing a great purge of properties including Skype to concentrate on its core sites, eBay and PayPal. So, now it is a venture-backed company again – and in the hot social media space to boot.
Basically, StumbleUpon is well on its way to becoming a Web 2.0 investor darling and can start thinking about an IPO given the gold rush mentality that pervades the Internet world right now. For example, Groupon, another Web 2.0 darling, is talking about an initial public offering that would value the company for $25 billion. In January, this IPO was only set for $15 billion. This is the same company which rejected a bid from Google for $6 billion just a few months ago. back then, people thought they were crazy, but you can see why they rebuffed Google now. Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman’s CEO, made a pitch in person for Groupon’s business because Goldman rightly sensed a huge fee bonanza if the company went public. Paul Kedrosky sees Groupon as a good shortselling opportunity.
The undertone of the conversation for me goes to TechCrunch. Tsotsis recently wrote a widely-read post explaining how TechCrunch’s new ‘corporate overlords’ AOL Asks Us If We Can Tone It Down. The gist of the post was that TechCrunch would not blend well into the acquisitive but corporate AOL culture. So it seems curious to me at least that Tsotsis probes Camp so much about buying his company back because it almost seems as if there are parallels with TechCrunch and AOL.
Camp makes it sound like StumbleUpon is really ramping up. Rumours have circulated that StumbleUpon is in the process of acquiring Delicious, a bookmarking site that I use religiously. I laughed out loud when I heard the question about who else was in the Internet space for "spontaneous discovery" because Camp made it seem like he had a hard time thinking of anyone else when we know his company is in talks with Yahoo. Clearly, Delicious is in that space.
I have started to use StumbleUpon a decent amount of late and I think Delicious would make a good fit with the company.