These social networks sure do like Google execs. Facebook hired Sheryl Sandberg, Google’s VP Global Online Sales And Operations, in March 2008. Bebo hired away Joanna Shields as President – previously she was Google’s Managing Director for Google Europe, Russia, Middle East & Africa.
Now Friendster. They’ve hired Richard Kimber, who was Google’s Managing Director of Sales and Operations for South East Asia and had over 1,000 people in his organization, to take over as the new CEO.
Previous CEO Kent Lindstrom will become SVP Corporate Development, says the WSJ. And the company has also raised a new $20 million round of financing led by IDG Ventures. The company has now raised $45 million.
The Friendster story is long and mostly sad. The company was founded in 2002 and owned the social networking world five years ago. They turned down a $30 million offer from Google in 2003 because they thought their destiny was something greater (that stock would be worth many times that amount based on Google’s stock price today). Instead of selling to Google, founder Jonathan Abrams raised venture capital. Friendster eventually raised money from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Benchmark Capital and Battery Ventures. Some of the most successful and well known venture capitalists in silicon valley joined Friendster’s board of directors. After a failure to sell the company in late 2005, they recapitalized the company and Kent Lindstrom, one of the founders of Friendster, took over as President.
By our calculations Friendster is the worlds 16th most valuable social network today, although it is the 9th most trafficked website.