Will Cominded ever launch anything?

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I’d just like to ask, is Cominded ever going to launch anything? The last time I asked the Web 2.0 development house late last year, they said things were still… in development. Then I emailed them a few days ago but got no reply. Who are Cominded? They are a startup created by London-based Paul Birch who happens to be the other brother of Michael Birch, head of Bebo. But unlike Bebo, which is now said to be worth over a billion dollars, Cominded have been threatening to launch a Web 2.0 startup since … well… let’s see… all of last year?

To be fair the affable Paul Birch – who has enthusiastically supported the UK startup scene with events like Pizza On Rails and PitchCamp – is not one to normally let deadlines drop. A former accountant-turned-programmer, Birch ‘lived the dream’ as he says at the start of the Internet boom as the co-founder of the Internet based birthday reminder/ecard service BirthdayAlarm.com with his San Francisco-based brother and sister-in-law. The site was sold to Tickle.com in 2003 and re-launched as Ringo.com. In July 2004 Birch co-founded with serial London networker Robert Loch the ‘business networking’ service Soflow.com, which at one point threatened to become the LinkedIn/Facebook of its era and took seed investment from Mel Morris and Martin Clifford who had previously sold Udate.com to AIC for $150 million. However, SoFlow failed to get anywhere and closed in July last year with the assets transfered into Wis.dm, which is run by Clifford. (Wis.dm is a social bookmarking and media-sharing site that won $5 million in funding from North Bridge Venture Partners). [Update: Robert Loch gives a more detailed and fuller account of SoFlow in his comment below].

Meanwhile Paul Birch remains an advisor to Bebo while he:

builds a technology infrastructure here at Cominded using Ruby on Rails to allow us to rapidly develop, launch and manage multiple ‘Web 2.0 style’ websites.”

However, the plan to “launch at the end of September” appears to have been missed. In fact venture blog Alarm Clock Europe was under the impression that something was expecting something to happen in April last year.

What is clear is that the nice big picture of a happy Cominded team (featuring co-conspirators Scott Rutherford and Gary Barlow) has disappeared from Cominded’s home page. But, since Birch is listed as “Co-Owner Bebo.com at Bebo Inc” (now worth a billion or so) I should think the pressure to launch something out of Cominded is now somewhat reduced…

Update: Paul Birch has finally emailed me back saying: “Its fair to say we are aiming for quality over time deadlines. But the news is we will be making an announcement at Pizzaonrails on 24th Jan about our beta service.”

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