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Summary:

Identi.ca’s plans to build an open-source alternative to Twitter got a vote of confidence this week with an investment from the VCs at Montreal Start Up. While the amount of the financing wasn’t disclosed, Montreal Start Up Managing Partner John Stokes said the firm invests between […]

Identi.ca’s plans to build an open-source alternative to Twitter got a vote of confidence this week with an investment from the VCs at Montreal Start Up. While the amount of the financing wasn’t disclosed, Montreal Start Up Managing Partner John Stokes said the firm invests between C$150,000 ($120,135) and C$400,000 ($320,329) per deal.

A bigger question is why microblogging companies are getting any investment at all. If Twitter can’t find revenues with the vast majority of market share, why would an open-source version make money? Identi.ca founder and CEO Evan Prodromou says open source gives the company “commercialization options that Twitter doesn’t [have].” For example the company can charge a fee for public or private implementations, or be the basis for microblogs on other web sites.

Identi.ca has some other tricks up its sleeve, too. Their APIs are Twitter-compatible, so they should work with third-party features like search, hashtags and analytics. And it’s a federated model: You can run an identi.ca instance privately, or share messages with other identi.ca servers. That allows hybrid public/private deployments that may sit better with enterprise customers.

Yammer and Present.ly have gone after those enterprise customers, and Socialtext recently added a Signals function for employee messaging. But Identi.ca’s taking a different path. “I don’t want to be a tiny company where we get paid for 100 percent of the installs, but have a tiny base,” said Prodromou. “I’d much rather see tens of millions of installs, and make conversions off a relatively small percent of them.”

Nor is Prodromou fazed by the Twitter imitators. “I think we’re over the hump of the yet-another-micromessaging-tool wave of the summer of 2008,” he said. “The more people know about Twitter, the more entrepreneurs and CIOs there are looking for a platform like ours on which to build.”

  1. I’m impressed by these guys. They obviously have a strategy moving forward, and unique vision for the future of microblogging. It’s refreshing.

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  2. [...] GigaOM`s Alistair Croll is reporting that Montreal’s Identi.ca’s has received an investment from the VCs at Montreal Start Up and plans to build an open-source alternative to Twitter. While the amount of the financing wasn’t disclosed, Montreal Start Up’s mandate is to initially invest $25-50K in very early stage ideas and then graduate those ideas to their FounderFuel investment program which make investments between $200K to $500K. Identi.ca’s investment would have likely fallen between those numbers. [...]

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  3. [...] to the people you care about? Tiny Twitter rival Identi.ca is trying to find out, and it has raised a small angel round to help it in that at least interesting pursuit. While Twitter has been gaining [...]

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  4. Google open sources Jaiku today. http://is.gd/fWGn . Talk about blessed timing for Evan Prodromou! I bet Identi.ca’s VC would like its money back today!

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  5. I am pretty excited to see what Laconica can do with the software and Identi.ca in particular. Identi.ca is still a long way away from Twitter but it has a pretty decent following. That being said Twitter has improved its service and, in the process, has addressed many of the issues that drove users away.

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  6. I might seem to be a bit stupid, but why would a company need funding to creating another twitter? Twitter isn’t that complex of a program.

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  7. [...] Identi.ca, mein derzeitiger Lieblings-Dienst, bekommt eine Finanzierung: »Identi.ca Gets Funding to Make Open-source Twitter Variant« [...]

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  8. This makes me think of a Twitter version of Magento… open software replacing a close one and making good money on consulting.

    Jon
    http://Buzvia.com – Where’s Your Traffic Going?

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  9. Congrats to identica team! it could be a private label solution for enterprises.

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  10. Congrats to Evan and team!

    Jaiku only works on Google App Engine. Not many people use that dev platform. (But congrats to Jyri and his team as well! :)

    Identi.ca is not a Twitter clone. It is a microblogging platform.
    I remember the same sort of questions around the creation of Movable Type and WordPress: “Why would anyone want to clone Blogger?!”
    If they play their cards right, they could be a sort of WordPress of the microblogging market.

    cheers ;)

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