"S" Fund Stands for Stanford Success

Social Network giants show startup the money

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Let's get social.

    For a Silicon Valley startup, the "S" Fund isn't just social, it's successful.

    One day after announcing a $250 million way to spread the gospel of social networking, the trinity of successful companies (Zynga, Facebook, and Amazon) behind it have blessed their first fundee: CafeBots of Palo Alto. The startup, founded by a group of Stanford PhDs, says it's closed an initial round of funding worth $5 million.

    The three companies, along with Valley super VC Kleiner Perkins, carry a lot of weight. After all, between Facebook and Zynga, you not only have the top two reasons to look away from your work for hours at a time, you also have pretty much the two reasons why Wall Street still exists -- no IPOs are even remotely as anticipated as those two. Growth, profits, tons of press - check, check and check.  Now, they're putting their checkbooks where their future is, and launching a fund for future social networkers.

    For CafeBots, the money is great, the attention just as cool.  "Social is the new search," says the startup's CEO Yoav Shoham.  "Kleiners' new S Fund will be a great launch pad for companies like ours that want to bring groundbreaking innovation to the social media space." CafeBots focuses on what it calls Friendship Relationship Management (FRM?), letting you drill down for information and contacts within your social worlds.

    For Kleiner Perkins, it's yet further proof that these guys get it. KP was first with the "iFund," recognizing that the iPhone was more than a cool phone, it was a new platform. A gazillion apps later, KP-iFunded companies are already growing, thriving and in some cases, even getting bought out.

    Watch what they do next. It's probably what we'll all be doing next.

    Scott's social, really.  He's on Facebook, shops on Amazon, and digs Zynga. He can be found on Twitter @scottbudman