RockYou toasts to $17 mln amid gloom

Bambi Francisco Roizen · November 3, 2008 · Short URL:

Social app company raises money from Softbank Japan and SK Telecom

RockYou celebrated a new round of funding on the same day that Sequoia Capital, one of its backers, met with portfolio companies to advise them to batten down the hatches. You could imagine Lance Tokuda, co-founder and CEO of RockYou, saying something like this on that day in the Sequoia offices. 

"Hold on, let me put down this stogie. It turns out the timing of that [gloom and doom meeting] was on the same day we closed a strategic funding round," said Tokuda, as he exhales. "Can you hold my cognac? We definitely take the advice very seriously, but we're very happy to secure additional funding just as the market falls through the floor."

These aren't the actual words from Tokuda. But it is ironic that his team celebrated a new round of $17 million on the same day that Sequoia Capital held its widely-publicized gloom-and-doom meeting with its portfolio companies, suggesting party times were over and it was time to get lean and throw out all the waste and excess. OK. Well, with the exception of an occasional bottle of champagne. 

RockYou founders were celebrating in the offices of Sequoia, according to VentureWire.

(The video pitch is of RockYou co-founder Jia Shen pitching his company.)

The new round is a follow-on to the $35 million Series C round led by DCM raised back in June. Softbank Japan provided $14 million of the latest funding and SK Telecom Ventures, the investment arm of SK Telecom Co. Ltd., provided $3 million. All told, RockYou raised $67 million total from the new investors, with participation from Sequoia, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Partech International and DCM.

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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RockYou is a leading provider of applications and widgets on the web. RockYou widgets include photo slideshows, glitter text, customized Facebook applications and voicemail accessories that are simple to use and enable people to frequently refresh their online style. Founded in 2006, RockYou has over 35 million users, serving over 180 million widget views per day in more than 200 countries. RockYou applications are customized for easy integration across all social networks including Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Friendster, Tagged and hi5.