Friendster Founder Jonathan Abrams Raises $1.7M To Start Hiring At Social News Reader Nuzzel

Social news startup Nuzzel has raised more than $1.7 million in seed funding.

I say “startup,” but at this point the only person working full-time on the project is Jonathan Abrams, who previously founded or co-founded Friendster, HotLinks, Socializr, and the Founders Den. With the new funding, Abrams is ready to start hiring — you can browse the list of available positions here. As a Nuzzel user, the one that I’m most excited to see is “iOS engineer,” which confirms that Abrams plans to launch iPhone and iPad apps.

There are lots of other social news apps out there, and they often highlight their sophisticated technology for determining topics, interests, and so on. Abrams took a different approach with Nuzzel, trying to make it as fast, simple, and clean as possible. At its heart, Nuzzel is just a stream of links that the people you’re following on Twitter and Facebook have shared the most, viewable on the Nuzzel website or via email digest. (You can also explore content shared beyond your immediate social network on a page with links from friends of friends, and look at the social feeds of other users.) It almost sounds too simple, but in the months since Nuzzel’s launch, I’ve found that it’s a reliable pointer to interesting content, without requiring any real set-up on my part. Because I follow a lot of TechCrunch writers and readers, it’s often dominated by stories from TC, but hey, I don’t mind — it’s actually a good way to keep up with TC stories that I might have missed, as well as those from our competitors. And, y’know, non-tech news too.

Abrams told me via email, “We received thousands of requests for beta invitations after our press launch in Sept, which I haven’t had time to respond to yet.”

nuzzel screenshot

As you might guess from Abrams’ history, he’s enlisted an impressive group of backers, including investors from IDG Ventures, 500 Startups, Charles River Ventures, SoftTech VC, Andreessen Horowitz, and others. He described it as “the best group of investors I have ever had for one of my startups,” which means “the pressure is really on for Nuzzel to build great shit!”

Here’s the list:

  • Alex Rosen, IDG Ventures
  • Anthony Soohoo, Rumpus
  • Dave McClure, 500 Startups
  • Diego Canoso, Sideline
  • Eric Ries, The Lean Startup
  • George Zachary, Charles River Ventures
  • Gil Penchina
  • James Hong, HotOrNot
  • Jeff Clavier & Stephanie Palmeri, SoftTech VC
  • Jim Young, Perceptual Networks
  • Jon Nordmark, UsingMiles
  • Kent Lindstrom, New Context
  • Mark Jacobstein, Qualcomm iSkoot
  • Max & Nellie Levchin
  • Michael Birch, Monkey Inferno
  • Michael Marquez & Ash Patel, Morado Venture Partners
  • Naval Ravikant, AngelList
  • Philip Kaplan, Fandalism
  • Raymond Tonsing, Orange Wall Capital
  • Rick Marini, BranchOut
  • Ron Palmeri
  • Ronny Conway, Andreessen Horowitz
  • Stan Chudnovsky & James Currier, Ooga Labs
  • Steve Chen, ScreenDate & 5A5
  • Zachary Bogue, Founders Den