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Web 2.0 which I define as ability to do a lot more with a lot less inside of a web browser – and the ensuing funding madness has finally started to go global – albeit very slowly. Netvibes, a Paris-based start-up last week raised a million dollars in angel funding from the likes of Martin Varsavsky, the founder of WiFi network, FON, Pierre Chappaz, founder of Kelkoo and Marc Andressen, founder of Ning.
Netvibes, if you are not familiar with the company, allows you to add small modules of different kinds of information – blog feeds, news feeds, weather reports and financial information etc – and create a “portal” of your own. These Ajaxian-home pages are quite a rage, and you have a virtual potpourri of offerings to choose from: about half a dozen and that’s not including the GYM gang. (See round-up by Richard McManus.) Most if not all are going to flame out, and be forgotten, despite cute names. How many, outside of early adopters are using these services? I bet you not enough!
Netvibes seems to have the most traction in this market, with Pageflakes close behind. Goowy, which does similar things in Macromedia Flash, is running neck-to-neck with Netvibes. Martin on his blog, has about a million users, and the Alexa chart kind of bears that out, to some degree.
Tariq Krim, the founder of Netvibes, called me following the announcement, and we stalked about where his company is going, and what will those million bucks be spent on. “We want to scale the service, and stabilize the platform, so we can roll it out to more users,” Krim says.
Krim said that the original concept of Netvibes came to him, when he wanted to build a little page where he could read all the RSS feeds. And then he add ability to take web notes, and from there is grew. Apparently, a lot of people wanted that service, and when they launched their product as a beta, it grew from zero to 15,000 users. “We grew from a concept into a product in one day,” he says. Krim points out that at present nearly 60 percent of Netvibes users are coming from the US, but that’s changing slowly, as new global users start to use Netvibes. Of course a million dollars buys the company to cook-up a way to make money.
Update: Tariq emailed and point out that, “Alexa doesn’t bring us justice don’t forget that we don’t have only one page (vs tabs on others services one user use many pages). You can check other metrics like reach to see the difference !” Such as daily reach.