Shaker Gets $15 Million in Venture Funding, Renewing Valley Interest in Synchronous Avatar-Driven Socialization
Shaker, the virtual world-meets-Facebook startup pitched as "Second Life, except you’re yourself" that I blogged about recently, just got $15 million in funding from Shervin Pishevar at Menlo Ventures, joining Michael Arrington's CrunchFund, which was already an investor. That's a decent chunk of funding from some well-known Valley players, which makes me think we'll see some more "me too" investments in this space -- not necessarily virtual worlds as we understood them in the 2006-2008 era, but synchronous, avatar-driven virtual spaces where you can connect and socialize with people outside your Facebook network. Indeed, early Facebook investor Sean Parker (or as he's better known outside the Valley, Justin Timberlake in The Social Network) says this, speaking about another startup with a synchronous socialization feature:
“We are trying to address the problem of what has happened the last 10 years of social media... Your social network has become more rigid and constraining.”
A great way to expand your social network is through avatars, and Shaker has some pretty good ideas. However, I definitely think it will need game structures beyond just being a social hangout space, as I write here. And as a side note: Hey, Linden Lab, you have another opportunity to lead this push, if your new project taps into this need, and just does it better.
Anyway, to see the pitch that helped win Shaker this influx of cash, watch this Techcrunch video after the break: