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Familybuilder: Web genealogy as social media

Posted on February 22, 2008 - 4:07 PM

London's DN Capital has provided $1.5 million in Series A funding to iFamily, a New York startup whose Familybuilder application seeks to update the Web genealogy market by tapping into the power of social networks. The announcement coincides with the company's launch of its application on the social network Bebo; Familybuilder has run on Facebook since last summer, and already counts 7 million profiles in its network.

Familybuilder allows users to research and create family trees as a natural extension of existing social networks. Chief executive Ilya Nikolayev says that gives it an advantage over existing standalone Web sites such as Ancestry.com, operated by the Generations Network (TGN, acquired by private equity firm Spectrum Equity Investors for $300 million in October, also publishes the RootsWeb.com, MyFamily.com and Genealogy.com sites). Nikolayev adds that Familybuilder is especially useful for finding long-lost living relatives, while Ancestry.com helps users research generations of the past.

Familybuilder expects to launch on MySpace in March, with the next step to accommodate Google Inc.'s OpenSocial standard. The new capital, which iFamily will add to a round of undisclosed size from CountryRoad Capital LLC last summer, is earmarked for new engineering hires and further application development. The company does advertise within social networks, but has largely grown virally, Nikolayev says. The company may seek to raise a Series B round as soon as late 2008. - Paul Bonanos

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