Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Ngmoco Team Reunites for N3twork to Restructure the Web With $12M From Kleiner Perkins

By Neil Young’s telling, the parable of his previous startup Ngmoco is that the mobile gaming company monetized better and faster than others that are struggling because of lessons it learned from its Japanese acquirer DeNA about figuring out what topics people are genuinely interested in.

Because of that focus on “affinity areas,” it created paid products that players truly cared about and wanted — rather than flimsy virtual coins and gifts they felt pressured into spending money on, and guilty about buying afterward.

N3TWORKAnd so Ngmoco, which Young left last year, was able to multiply its revenue run rate into the “many hundreds of millions” after being acquired for $400 million in 2010.

For his next act, called N3twork, Young wants to reorganize the Web around interests this same way.

“When I come to the Web, I express interests and that manifests itself in pages and domains,” Young said at the N3twork office in San Francisco Wednesday. “I do a search, and I end up with 20 browser tabs open. Is there a better way to reorganze the Internet around interests that makes sense for these devices we use?”

For now, Young only wants to talk at the highest of levels — rather than coming down to earth with a specific product.

What he would say is that he’s making apps — for the phone and tablet at first, possibly the TV — that help users tune into channels associated with their interests that mash up all sorts of different media and information elements. To do this, N3twork aims to to “reindex” the Web based on user activity. And Young is also especially focused on building for touch interfaces.

NeilYoungTo my ear, it sounds like N3twork would be a sort of personalized content dashboard — a little Pinterest, a little Bloomberg Terminal, a little TweetDeck. But Young didn’t want to go into details, and would only say that the first apps are supposed to be ready later this year.

What Young would say is who’s involved: Himself and three others from Ngmoco, including his co-founder and product head Bob Stevenson, as well as Erik Lammerding, former long-time developer relations manager at Apple.

And N3twork has backing to the tune of $12 million led by Kleiner Perkins partner Bing Gordon, along with Mike Maples of Floodgate and Joe Kraus of Google Ventures.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus