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MOLI wins $30m to keep your public and private life separate

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MOLI , a US-owned [but Dublin-based, see update below] Florida-based social startup has launched at DEMO with $29.6m in funding from backers including the founder of Home Depot chain Bernard Marcus, and the chain’s co-founder, Kenneth Langone. They were joined by hedge fund Vantis Capital Management. Indeed GigaOm reports that founder Dr. Christos M. Cotsakos, former Chairman and CEO of E*TRADE and AC Nielsen, has already previously seeded the company with $20 million of his personal funds, plus $6 million from private investors.

MOLI is out to crack the problem of mixing one’s private social network with professional life. Users can create and manage diverse personal profiles via one user identity and a single, customized home page. Users can decide which of their profiles are shared and to whom. But this is not just a Facebook / LinkedIn mashup. MOLI is a social network aimed at “enterprising individuals above the age of 18 and small business owners”, who, for $3.99 will also get a web store, with billing by Google Checkout, or PayPal. Mainstream will also license the MOLI platform and is planning a version of the site aimed at kids.

However, MOLI may need to tweak its privacy settings. Ireland-based blogger Sabrina Dent has highlighted a concern about being spammed by users as soon as she joined, since the site doesn’t currently cloak new joins. But for now, let us hope that MOLI can address these issues soon. [There is a more detailed review of MOLI on TechCrunch UK & Ireland].

UPDATE: Judy Balint, MOLI’s President and COO, contacts us to clarify that MOLI’s office in Dublin is its European Regional headquarters “with only a few people at this point in time” and its global headquarters are in southern Florida where the majority of its 55 associates are based. She also sent an “apology to all your readers for our associate not identifying themselves appropriately as being from our company when they responded to a post on an Irish blog [Sabrina Dent.com] that unintentionally mis-represented how privacy works on MOLI. As a result, we have issued a policy to all of our associates worldwide to ensure that they include their name and title in all posts about company information going forward to ensure absolute transparency.”

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