Grou.ps Pulls In $1.1 Million, Opens Up Code To Take On Ning

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Grou.ps, a startup based in San Francisco, has secured a $1.1 Million Series A financing round in a deal led by Golden Horn Ventures. Grou.ps will also now be open-sourcing a restricted version of its code, with a view to spreading its collaboration tools. This move is based around the idea of commoditizing the platform faster and then taking advantage of the fact that they can then hire the best programmers out there. Currently Grou.ps has about 200,000 active users worldwide, after launching a public beta in April.

The site offers chat, blogs, wikis, forums, mailing lists, photo albums, bookmarking, calendaring and maps among other features. You can run all of your group’s collaboration tools from one Grou.ps domain using a single login. It also will mash with content from Flickr and YouTube. In fact if it sounds a little like Ning or Wetpaint, then that’s because it has several aspects in common with those sites. One of the main differences are that Ning – with $104 Million in backing – has a much larger number of users and also runs ads, whereas Grou.ps doesn’t (apart from the AdSense code group owners can add).

Grou.ps founder Emre Sokullu, orginally from Turkey, was in Istanbul for the TechCrunch meetup this weekend (organised in association with Webrazzi, the leading Turkish Web 2.0 blog), so I interviewed him about the announcement.

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