NetVibes, a Paris/London based company, will announce a $15 million round of financing on Monday. Existing investor Index Ventures joined new investor Accel to lead the investment, which is one of the largest this year for a European company (Bebo, a UK based company raised a similar amount). The valuation was not disclosed.
NetVibes is a personal ajax home page that we’ve covered since launch. Netvibes has seen tremendous growth, even against well funded competitors like Pageflakes, which took a large investment from Benchmark. The site now has over five million users and claims to have spent next to nothing on marketing.
Their product has also been evolving nicely with the integration of their eco-system and the addition of Meebo IM injecting some community flavor.
A previous seed round closed in March, including Index Ventures, Marc Andreessen, Pierre Chappaz (founder of Kelkoo and Wikio) and Martin Varsavsky (founder of Jazztel, Ya.com and Fon).
We understand that this investment will be mostly dedicated to setting up a team of business and technical collaborators (they actually started to do so) but also to upgrading their technical infrastructure, improving their product (a bit slower lately but being upgraded too) and establishing partnerships.
NetVibes toughest challenges are starting now. They have enough traction in a young market to begin to monetize traffic – they just have to find the right way to do it without alienating users. NetVibes will also have to become mainstream which implies dedicated marketing efforts and relevant distribution deals to reach untapped, non-early-adopter audiences.
They certainly have enough resources to implement their vision and take those challenges to the next level. Will NetVibes join other European based world class internet companies like Skype (an Index investment too) Bebo and Habbo?
update 17/08: read also this post on NetVibes blog