- Updated 14:44, 30 March 2006 (UTC) with complete list of investors.
BESSEMER VENTURE PARTNERS FUNDS JIMMY WALES’ STARTUP WIKIA
- Bessemer leads $4 million round with prominent angels
- Company changes name from Wikicities to Wikia
- Wikia supports foundation behind Wikipedia
ST. PETERSBURG, FL, – March 27, 2006 –
Wikia, Inc., formerly known as Wikicities, has raised a $4 million Series A round from Bessemer Venture Partners, Omidyar Network and its angel investors, including Marc Andreessen, Dan Gillmor, Reid Hoffman, Josh Kopelman, Joichi Ito, Mitch Kapor, Brett Bullington, Ron Conway, Gil Penchina, Michael Tanne, and Dave Whorton.
Wikia is an advertising-supported platform for developing and hosting community-based wikis. Specifically, Wikia enables groups to share information, news, stories, media and opinions that fall outside the scope of an encyclopedia. Jimmy Wales and Angela Beesley launched Wikia in 2004 to provide community-based wikis inspired by the model of Wikipedia--the free, open source encyclopedia founded by Jimmy Wales and operated by the Wikimedia Foundation, where Wales and Beesley serve as board members.
Wikia is committed to openness, inviting anyone to contribute web content. Authors retain their own copyrights, but allow others to freely reuse their content under the GNU Free Documentation License, allowing widespread distribution of knowledge and ideas.
Wikia supports the development of the open source software that runs both Wikipedia and Wikia, as well as thousands of other wiki sites. Among other contributions, Wikia plans to enhance the software with usability features, spam prevention, and vandalism control. All of Wikia's development work will, of course, be fed back into the open source code.
Wikia already hosts some of the world's largest wikis outside of the Wikimedia Foundation, including: uncyclopedia.org, a parody of Wikipedia; memory-alpha.org, a Star Trek encyclopedia; starwars.wikia.com, a community devoted to Star Wars, and hundreds more including topics ranging from politics to pets. Since the site's launch in November 2004, over 1000 Wikia have been created and edited by over 20,000 registered users. Wikia are available in over 35 languages. A list of Wikia can be seen at www.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_Wikia.
"Each of our investors has an impressive track record building long-lived companies," said Jimmy Wales. "In addition, they each understand our open source values and share our focus on serving users."
"We’re very excited to partner with Wikia," said Jeremy Levine of Bessemer, who has joined the Wikia board of directors. "Based on the phenomenal rise of Wikipedia, Jimmy and Angela obviously know what wiki users want in a site!"
Wikia’s other new board member is Technorati’s international GM, Joichi Ito. Mr. Ito had founded PSINet Japan and InfoSeek Japan, and he currently serves on the boards of Creative Commons, Six Apart Japan, Socialtext, ICANN, and the Mozilla Foundation. "We witness the dawn of a new era in communications," said Mr. Ito. "The depth and appeal of user generated research, as demonstrated by Wikipedia, will shake the foundations of mainstream media."
About Bessemer Venture Partners
As the oldest venture capital practice in the U.S., Bessemer has carried on a tradition of hands-on, early-stage investing since 1911. With offices in New York, California, Massachusetts, Shanghai and Mumbai, Bessemer Venture Partners (www.bvp.com) now manages more than a billion dollars of venture funds. Over 100 Bessemer startups have gone public, including Ciena, Gartner, Ingersoll Rand, International Paper, Maxim, Parametric, Staples, WR Grace, Verisign, and Veritas. Wikia is one of many Web2.0 companies whose first venture rounds were led by Bessemer; others include Skype, Yelp, Zopa, Revver and Flock.
About Omidyar Network
Omidyar Network is a mission-based investment group committed to fostering individual self-empowerment on a global scale. Established in June 2004 by Pierre and Pam Omidyar, the Network funds for-profits and nonprofits that promote equal access to information, tools and opportunities; connections around shared interests; and a sense of ownership for participants.
To learn more about Omidyar Network and the organizations it has funded, please visit www.omidyar.net