AOL seeks friends on Bebo

I just learnt that AOL, after failing to stabilise its huge online population through its core portal product offerings, has decided to seek solace with a smart social networking acquisition, announcing an $850M purchase of Bebo today.

Michael Birch, founder of Bebo, struck me as an oustanding founder when I met him.  From his strategic management of viral development to his unique product roadmap, Michael had what one might call “purity of vision” in how to develop his service, mixing high end maths with a deep understanding of communities.  This is a quality I witnessed rarely but saw shine though both at DailyMotion and Bebo.  True web2 DNA at work.

The outcome is great news for European venture and Barry at Balderton.  Here is again an example of a world class startup that started in the UK and Ireland and subsequently became a key SN player globally.

Congrats to Michael and Xochi, Joanna Shields, Barry at Balderton and all those involved.  What a great outcome.  I hope AOL lets this property flourish and that the team does not get enbroiled in what seem to be endless power plays at the floundering giant.


Barry Maloney

Barry at Balderton, reported to have made $140M on the transaction or about 9X.

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