It was revealed on Friday that Napster founders Sean Parker
and Shawn Fanning are teaming up with the aim of shaking up the
cyber-world once again with a new social video sharing platform
Parker, famously portrayed by Justin Timberlake in the
movie, made billions from his stake in Facebook (NASDAQ:
), and he is now looking to kick start this new project with the
help of an old friend.
As suggested in the movie, he took a bit of a backseat with
FB. Parker famously enjoys being seen as a Silicon Valley
celebrity (he probably loved the Timberlake thing), so it was
never on the cards that he would take his Facebook billions and
disappear to live a quiet life.
Naturally, Airtime was unveiled at a celebrity-adorned party
on Tuesday morning, with Snoop Dogg, Martha Stewart and Julia
Louis-Dreyfus on the guest list.
So what does it do? Believe it or not, functionality does
matter, particularly once the red carpet has been rolled up and
Apparently, Airtime will aim to connect people for video
chats. If that sounds like Chatroulette, that's because it is.
Straight away, there will be concerns over the fact that you
couldn't look at Chatroulette for more than a minute without
happening some guy's exposed genitals. That is something that
Airtime will have to deal with swiftly if it wants to have any
respectability at all.
Airtime has raised $33 million from investors who obviously
have faith in Parker and Fanning's ability to create something
fresh and revenue-generating on the web. Napster famously shook
up the music industry before disappearing in a sea of law suits,
angry musicians holding the company's head under the water.
Investors pulled in so far include Kleiner Perkins Caufield
& Byers, Andreessen Horowitz, Accel Partners, Google
Ventures, plus Ashton Kutcher, Yuri Milner, Ron Conway and
Incredibly, Airtime made its first acquisition before it was
officially unveiled, buying social content sharing startup Erly,
which was started by former Hulu employees.
Parker, also a board member at Spotify, knows how to make
money on the internet. That much is undeniable. What we haven't
seen him do yet is create something from scratch and make a
long-term success out of it. Maybe Airtime will be his time.
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