Friendster Adds $20 Million

Friendster Inc., a San Francisco-based social networking company, has raised $20 million in new VC funding. IDG Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backers Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures and Founders Fund. The company has now raised nearly $50 million since 2002. Friendster also named a new CEO: Richard Kimber, former regional managing director of South Asia at Google.  



Friendster, Inc. (, the 9th largest website in the world based on traffic and the #1 social network in Asia, today announced Richard Kimber as its new chief executive officer (CEO) and a member of its board of directors. As the new CEO, Kimber will lead Friendster's global business and guide operations in Asia and the U.S. In addition to the appointment of Kimber, Friendster also announced today that it has closed $20 million in funding.

Most recently, Kimber was the regional managing director of South Asia at Google, where he successfully led business operations and strategic partnerships across the region. Some of Kimber's notable accomplishments included dramatically increasing Google's revenue in the Asia Pacific region, opening offices in Singapore and Auckland, and rapidly growing Google's Australian and Korean businesses. Kimber has a deep understanding of the Asia Pacific region, experience in consumer Internet monetization and strategy, and a notable track record of managing international operations.

Prior to Google, Kimber was the CEO for FirstDirect Bank in the UK, a subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc, the world's largest banking group. Kimber previously served as global head of eMarketing and CEO of HSBC Internet Payment at HSBC Bank USA. Additional experience includes roles as head of personal eBusiness at HSBC, founder and managing director at HSBC InvestDirect, associate director at Westpac Banking Corp., and other important positions at leading banking establishments.

“Friendster is growing at an enormous rate in Asia Pacific and is clearly leading the competition. I believe this is partly because the Internet is transforming the lives of everyone, and it will probably become one of the greatest liberators of our time,” said Kimber. “Utilizing the Internet to connect to your friends is one of its greatest benefits, and is changing the way relationships work globally. With more than 75 million users, it is clear that Friendster has already made a dramatic impact. I look forward to growing our business further as we continue our global growth and strong focus on Asia.”

Friendster recently raised $20 million in financing led by new investor IDG Ventures, a global network of venture capital funds. The new funding will enable Friendster to extend its leadership position in the Asia Pacific region and continue to grow and monetize its global user base. IDG Ventures is a strong addition to Friendster's investor portfolio, with more than 220 companies built over the last 15 years. The IDG Ventures network is comprised of six independent partnerships managing funds in North America and Asia. In addition to IDG Ventures, all current institutional investors made additional investments as part of this round of funding — Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures and Founders Fund. Joining Friendster's board from IDG is Butch Reddy, general partner.

“With the addition of Richard, Butch and the new funding, Friendster will continue to expand its worldwide footprint and take advantage of its leadership position in Asia Pacific,” said Russ Siegelman, partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and chairman of the board for Friendster. The Asia Pacific region is an important and fast-growing region where 38 percent of the world's Internet users are located.* “To continue to grow and strengthen this position, Friendster plans to leverage the new funding to focus on user growth, even greater user engagement and monetization, all through new features, new offerings, localization and marketing, for the benefit of over 75 million users worldwide.”

In the last two years, Friendster has achieved an enviable track record of success in terms of both scale and triple-digit annual growth. Globally, Friendster now ranks in the Top 50 in the world versus all web properties in four key metrics: 9th in total traffic (22.1 billion page views), 9th in total time spent (8.0 billion minutes), 9th in user engagement (215 minutes per visitor per month), and 47th in monthly unique visitors (37.1 million).*

Kimber succeeds Kent Lindstrom who has led Friendster for the last 2 1/2 years through this period of rapid growth and success. Lindstrom will remain at Friendster, will assist with the transition and will continue focusing on key operations of the business.

Friendster Leads in Asia — Friendster is the #1 social network in Asia, with over 55 million registered users and 33 million monthly unique visitors from Asia.* In Asia, Friendster is almost twice the size of any other social network.

Friendster, A Top 10 Website Globally — Friendster is the 9th largest website and the 3rd largest social network in the world in terms of traffic, with over 22.1 billion page views a month.* Friendster is 1st in “user engagement” among the top five global social networks with an average of 215 minutes per visitor per month.

About Friendster

With more than 75 million members worldwide, Friendster is a leading global online social network. Friendster is focused on helping people stay in touch with friends and discover new people and things that are important to them. Online adults, 18 and up, choose Friendster to connect with friends, family, school, social groups, activities and interests. Friendster prides itself in delivering an easy-to-use, friendly and interactive environment where users can easily connect with anyone around the world via or from any Internet-ready mobile device. Friendster has a growing portfolio of patents granted to the company on social networking, with more expected over the next several months. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, Friendster is backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, IDG Ventures and individual investors. For more information, visit:

About IDG Ventures

IDG Ventures is a global network of venture capital funds with approximately $3.7 billion under management and a portfolio of over 220 companies built over the last 15 years. The IDG Ventures network is comprised of six independent partnerships managing funds in North America and Asia. Each partnership makes investments on behalf of its limited partners, including International Data Group (IDG), the world's largest IT media company. With partnerships in Boston, San Francisco, India, Korea and multiple locations throughout China and Vietnam, the IDG Ventures network offers the international perspective and the local market expertise to help companies grow from start-ups to global success stories. For more information, visit