About.me, that lets you create your own homepage, raised $11 million in its second round. Previously, this company had received a funding of $5.7 million. Founded in 2010 and having a user base of 4.5 million, this startup was acquired by AOL in 2010. In 2013 About.me bought itself back from AOL.
The company plans to invest this amount in adding and enhancing new features. The platform that combines the essence of Facebook and sophistication of LinkedIn will become even more simpler. About.me from its initial days kept working silently, pulling in more and more sign ups on its platform. The already easy platform deems to become even more user friendly, as announced by CEO Tony Conrad. The participating names in this second round of funding includes Bullpen Capital, CrunchFund, Foundry Group, SoftTech VC and True Ventures. News has it that, Brad Feld, partner at Foundry Group will join board panel at About.me according to the agreement in the funding.
About.me is gearing up to put its best foot out in the market, giving an open and a steady competition to Facebook specifically. The obvious question is why Facebook? The statistics of social media show that Facebook has become a de facto when you are trying to sign up or sign in for an application. Websites that host social commenting and sharing use Facebook, while LinkedIn has “listing accomplishments in a formal way” to its credit.Along with Facebook and LinkedIn emerging as social media giants, there are a host of other companies who readily take charge of varied passwords and user IDs for various other online services that require them. In all these hustle bustle, the gap in creating a market where managing profiles will be an easy task is increasing profusely. Now that’s where About.me steps in and tends to position itself to keep bridging this gap in the future as well. About.me lets you create a webpage for yourself where anyone searching for your professional as well as little of personal information can hop in.
The opportunity that About.me looks to tap on is the same thing that has attracted VCs too. “There are endless options in today’s world of how to depict yourself online, but there has yet to be a singular platform that gives individuals full control of their online identity. About.me gives users this ability, and we think there is something very exciting about the possibilities ahead, both in terms of the product and the team leading it” ~ Feld quotes at TechCrunch.
About.me has been seeing a boom in its monthly page views. In January 2013 it was 4 million/month page views which steadily went up to 168 million/month by May 2014. Conrad says this huge increase is because of the new features that motivated their users to stay on the site longer and keep using it. One of these awesome features is the “Collections”. Tech Crunch quotes it to be “Pinterest for people” where you can view other profiles in forms of tiles as well as tag others’ About.me profiles. Along with this, now sending and receiving messages have become even more simpler on this platform.
“It’s also incorporated more intelligent technology into how it presents information to users when they do search for others on the platform, courtesy of its Wefollow acquisition last year”
Conrad is of the opinion that there are many people who still find signing up and creating own pages difficult on this platform. “There’s a new set of editing tools we will launch at the beginning July that will solve that, to make it easier to create a great page. It’s dead simple for some, but there’s still too many places we’re asking people to choose from, say, 20 different fonts. The number of places where you could go wrong is amazing” he says.
The messaging concept will become more predefined, given that people are using the platform to reach out to each other on a larger scale. That said, About.me will not pull the thread beyond its limits. It is often seen that people who message the most may end up being exactly those who wouldn’t want a messaging feature incorporated. Currently, Conrad and his other co-founder Ryan Freitas is concentrating in motivating the team to work on existing features rather than paying attention to creating new ones. There are lot of potential opportunities out there in the digital world, but tapping on all of them at one go might lead to a chaos.
The company is busy making their premium features right. Presently, the company has two tiers- one is a free tier and the other is the premium one at $4/month. The premium has added features like custom domains, analytics and removal of all of About.me branding. Add to this, a new tier will be introduced soon called the “Promote” which will come at $9/month. However, the launch date for this new tier is not known yet.
About.me doesn’t consider itself to be competing with LinkedIn, but Conrad’s statement begs to differ- “I’ve gotten messages from people introducing themselves for jobs, investing and to ask me about talking engagements”. It won’t be long before we start seeing About.me being the next LinkedIn.
News Source: Tech Crunch