Friendster: The Orkut of Asia
Tell me why you aren’t going to be the next Friendster.”
– Venture capitalist David L. Sze’s 2006 litmus test for entrepreneurs who claimed to have the next MySpace.
If Orkut is the Facebook of Brazil, then Friendster is the Orkut of Asia. The company, which created the social- networking market only to forfeit it to Myspace and Facebook, is apparently doing quite well in Asia. So much so, that it’s used its success on that continent to secure some new venture funding and a CEO with a Google (GOOG) pedigree. In a statement proclaiming itself the No. 1 social network in Asia this morning, Friendster named Richard Kimber, Google’s Managing Director of Sales and Operations for South East Asia, as CEO. The company also said it has raised $20 million in new venture funding from DG Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, and the Founders Fund. Friendster plans to use that money to hire up and bolster its presence across Asia, specifically Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
Perhaps, we’ll see that Friendster movie yet–though I still can’t imagine a worse concept.