Ex-YHOO, MSFT Execs Launch Stealthy Center’d: Local Search Meets Social Networking


imageLast November we wrote about Fatdoor, the stealth local content site from ex-Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) exec Jennifer Dulski but we didn’t know much beyond the fact that it had raised $5.5 million. Today the company comes out of stealth with its new name — Center’d — and total funding of $6.5 million. VC backers include Norwest Venture Partners and Keynote Ventures. In addition to CEO Dulski, a nine-year Yahoo vet, Center’d’s other key executive is CTO Chandu Thota, previously a lead developer of Microsoft’s (NSDQ: MSFT) Virtual Earth (the company is playing up the marriage of ex-Yahoo and Microsoft execs).

The company has a tough proposition. It’s trying to marry local search with social networking and event planning and it wants to do it all on its own platform — this is no social app play. Think Yelp, but with features so that you can actually schedule a dinner with your friends at your favorite Chinese restaurant, rather than just submit reviews. That’s the core idea, though it’s pretty full featured. How does it compete against Facebook and the like, which already have scheduling apps? Dulski described the site to me as a “purposeful social network” for busy adults without all the juvenile trivialities of a site like Facebook. In addition to scheduling and local listings, the site is positioning itself for various transactional opportunities — you might, for example, be able to make a reservation or buy a ticket directly from the listing. That’s rare right there: it already has some reasonable ideas on how it might make money.

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