Shaker, the Israeli startup that won Disrupt SF less than a month ago, is raising a hefty $15 million series A. The round is being led by Menlo Ventures, with good-karma VC Shervin Pishevar doing the deal. Michael Arrington’s CrunchFund is also an investor, along with Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, Lady Gaga’s manager Troy Carter, and Pitango Venture Capital. (The picture at right is one of the Shaker founders crashing with the $50,000 Disrupt winner’s check, which wasn’t part of the round, I just love the picture).
The company previously raised $3 million ($1 million in July, 2010 from Israeli angel investor Zaki Rakib, who s also the father of one of the founders) and $2 million in March, 2011 from Pitango. A few more strategic investors from the music and entertainment industry might still join this round.
Shaker creates 3D virtual rooms for you to hang out in with your Facebook friends and meet new people through those friends. When Shaker first pitched me for Disrupt, it was through chat and then directly by launching the app in Facebook (it was already live in stealth mode with Israeli users). It was the middle of the night in Israel, but the room was packed. You can walk up to people and chat, check out their Facebook profiles, and really socialize. Shaker is a virtual world, but with real identities.
Trolling people’s profiles isn’t a great way to meet people, unless you happen to bump into them at a party later on. But that was exactly the original appeal of Facebook. Shaker wants to bring that dynamic online. It won Disrupt, and now it’s got plenty of cash to shake its stuff.