Bill Gross raises $17.5 million for UberMedia

Bambi Francisco Roizen · February 15, 2011 · Short URL:

Founder of eToys, Idealab and UberMedia raises cash to monetize the Twitter ecosystem

Just one week after UberMedia snapped up Tweetdeck for a reported $30 million, the company, started by Internet pioneer Bill Gross, has armed itself with $17.5 million in a round led by Accel Partners.

Also participating in the round were existing investors Revolution Ventures, founded by Steve Case in 2005, and Index Ventures. Jim Breyer of Accel will join the board of the Pasadena-Calif.-based UberMedia.

The fresh funds will go toward building out UberMedia's Twitter app empire.

With UberMedia's acquisition of Tweetdeck, UberMedia now owns a significant number of top Twitter apps, such as Twidroyd (largest Twitter app on the Android platform), Echofon (No. 2 on iPhone and No. 1 on Firefox and Mac), and UberTwitter (No. 1 on BlackBerry and also largest Twitter app on any platform that control a large number of Tweets). With all these apps under its control, UberMedia also controls a significant number of all originating Tweets. That's because the clients, both mobile and desktop, are used by the more frequent Twitter users, while the more casual users tend to rely on the Twitter website. Even without Tweetdeck, UberMedia controls some 15% of all Tweets, according to UberMedia.

Fresh funds will certainly help pay for this as-of-yet-unconfirmed acquisition, and possibly more.

The idea behind UberMedia hasn't really changed, though its name has. It used to be called PostUp. And, when it launched back in April 2010, it was called TweetUp. It's always been the case, however, that UberMedia has wanted to help bloggers, brands or anyone gain a Twitter following. That's done by allowing people to pay to get their Tweets in a high position when someone searches through the Tweets.  

If UberMedia can get those Tweeting to bid against each other and pay $1, or even quarter, to be seen by an audience, those Tweets can be worth a mint. This is similar to the paid search, auction-styled model  created by Bill, well before Google adopted it.  And, we know how well that model worked for Google.

That raises some questions: Will Twitter adopt this model? Or will UberMedia do a better job monetizing Twitter than CEO Dick Costolo? 

Now, I'm not going to prognosticate about UberMedia's intent or future. But here's an interview I did with Bill a couple months ago. In the interview, you can get a sense of what UberMedia is trying to do.

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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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