Remember Rollercoaster Tycoon? The addictive game turned you into a theme park manager and rollercoaster designer. Although I enjoyed the managing aspect, the building possibilities really did it for me. One of the options during the construction of a rollercoaster were the boosters, which helped the trains gain some speed.
Social network Friendster is often called a “rollercoaster failure“. It was one of the first popular networks, attracted millions of users, and reached its peak in 2003 – Google then almost bought it for $30 million. Due to scalability problems, MySpace and Facebook took over the Western market. The rollercoaster went down pretty fast.
Yet the next steep was already in sight, as Friendster became the no. 1 service in several South Asian countries like the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore.
Earlier today, Friendster passed two boosters, which make the social network an important player again. The company closed a $20 million investment round, led by IDG Ventures with existing investors Kleiner Perkins, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures and Founders Fund. Moreover, the San Francisco-based company welcomed a new CEO, Richard Kimber, the regional managing director of South Asia for Google.
So while Facebook and MySpace have their ball in the west, Friendster now has the money and the right guy to firm their good position in South Asia. That’s one hell of a rollercoaster ride…