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Social incubator that saw its first portfolio company sell for $104 million speeds ahead
Social incubator YouWeb announced Tuesday that it has raised $2 million from its existing investors. Additionally, the incubator, created by CrowdStar CEO Peter Relan, also announced today that it has hired tech veteran Michelle Sangster as its SVP of business development.
Between the early 1990s and early 2000s, Sangster moved every couple years between various companies, including Encyclopaedia Britannica, Amazon and Yahoo. Her longest stint was nearly six years at Kosmix, a social media startup acquired by Walmart this past April. By that time, Sangster was serving as VP of business development at Kosmix, so post-acquisition she was made an executive at the newly created @WalmartLabs.
Four months later, she’s ready for something new.
“Michelle has a long history of success in mobile, social media and e-commerce,” said Peter Relan, founder of YouWeb. “Michelle will be integral to YouWeb’s development as it continues to generate disruptive and creative incubations.”
YouWeb’s biggest win so far was also its first incubation. In April, GREE, operator of Japan’s largest mobile gaming social network, paid $104 million for OpenFeint, a social gaming developer for mobile devices and the first company to be incubated by YouWeb.
Going forward, Relan has brought on Sangster to help scale more of YouWeb’s incubations, starting with iSwifter. That startup, which already has 500,000 users playing Facebook games on the iPad, sells itself as “the world's first cloud-based content streaming platform for mobile devices.”
Relan’s incubator has certainly chosen a smart space to live in for quick, sky-high success. You can’t really get much hotter than sitting at the crossroads of mobile, social and gaming. It will be interesting to see if Relan and Sangster can replicate OpenFeint’s success with their other portfolio companies.
Here’s the full list of investors participating in YouWeb’s new round: Dave Roux (co-founder and chairman of Silver Lake Partners), Dave whorton (founder of Tugboat Ventures), Praful Shah (founding VP of marketing at WebEx), Brett Wander (chief investment officer at Charles Schwab), ex-Sun Microsystems employee Winston Cho and Peter Relan (YouWeb’s founder).
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Kosmix was acquired by Walmart in May of 2011 to create @WalmartLabs.
Through the innovative fusion of retail, social and mobile, @WalmartLabs is redefining Commerce for the largest retailer worldwide. We are a group comprised of the brightest technologists and businesspeople in the industry, excited about the limitless opportunities that this next generation of Commerce will bring to billions of people around the globe, all in an effort to help them save money and live better.
Kosmix was funded by Time Warner Investments, Accel Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Dag Ventures, private investor Ed Zander and Jeff Bezos' personal investment company, Bezos Expeditions.
WalmartLabs is hiring.