Hi5

Gaming-Focused Social Network hi5 Raises $14 Million

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hi5, a gaming-focused social network that most people forgot about long ago, has just closed a new round of funding of over $14 million led by Crosslink Capital. This brings the social network’s funding to over $34 million. This round appears to also include the $3 million in debt funding raised from Mohr Davidow in April.

The new funding will be used for hi5’s continued expansion into social gaming and virtual goods. Hi5, which has been actively remodeling its site to cater to the gaming industry, just bought gaming startup Big Six. Last fall, the social network launched a totally revamped site that places a much stronger emphasis on games and virtual currency, along with a new avatar system.

In December, hi5 brought on a new president, gaming industry veteran, Alex St. John, to help lead the social network’s efforts. Earlier in the year, the company suffered from layoffs and also hired a new CEO, Bill Gossman.

The push into gaming isn’t a bad idea for hi5, which clearly cannot compete with Facebook. The network has only 60 million members compared to Facebook’s 500 million users. But hi5 faces a number of fast-growing and heavily funded competitors in the social gaming space, including Zynga and Playdom.

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