Category Archives: Lightspeed Venture Partners

RockYou named one of the top innovations for 2007

RockYou is amongst the top 6 innovation leaps for 2007 according CNN. Below is what Michael V. Copeland from Fortune wrote about the company.

While the giants of social networking battle for the attention of Internet users, the guys behind RockYou are happy to sit in the middle. They make their money shipping the tiny apps known as widgets that add value to the Web sites–and generate ad revenue for RockYou. “MySpace and Facebook are like my two divorced parents,” says Shen, who launched the company with Tokuda in 2005. “And I am their child whose love they are trying to buy.”

No wonder. RockYou today is the hottest widget factory on the Web. More than 35 million people in 200 countries have used its little programs, which rack up 180 million page views per day. What do RockYou’s widgets do? The things people who populate MySpace and Facebook love to do, like post silly notes and videos on RockYou’s Super-Wall, quiz each other with RockYou’s Likeness’s trivia questions, or test their astrological waters via RockYou’s Horoscope. Look for the company’s widgets to start showing up in your e-mail, your instant messages, and, perhaps by 2009, your cellphone.

Interesting fact is that RockYou seems to be heavily relying on organic traffic despite its popularity. On its home page it is clearly visible a text link “Create SlideShow” which points to: When searched on Google that page appears #3 out of millions results returned.

Indeed the company looks very healthy to us. Quantcast reports for almost 7M global unique visitors while the Americans alone are slightly over 2M/mo. Compete is showing pretty much the same number of visitors – almost 6M per month, only American traffic.

The company founders are Lance Tokuda and Jia Shen and RockYou is based in San Mateo, Calif. Co-Founders Lance Tokuda and Jia Shen were sued by their former employer Iconix in 2006. Iconix claimed Tokuda and Shen were working on a slideshow application for them at the same time the pair created RockYou. A preliminary injunction favored Iconix before the intellectual property theft case was settled out of court.

The company is partnering with some of today’s webs top sites like Bebo, Friendster, Flixter, WordPress and Hi5, among others. is  the RockYou’s main competitor. However now RockYou!’s Super Wall app has overtaken Slide’s similar FunWall app for the #1 spot, with 3.1 million daily active users. RockYou! has recently put up a press release claiming there are more popular than Slide, with CEO Lance Tokuda calling it “a significant milestone for RockYou.”
RockYou has recently signed a deal with PlayFirst, who just got $16.5M in series C round of funding led by DCM that included original investors Mayfield Fund, Trinity Ventures and Rustic Canyon Partners. The new round brings total funding for PlayFirst to $26.5 million. Under the deal RockYou will distribute PlayFirst games through its widget and social networking service, with Wedding Dash the first title to be made available to Facebook users. PlayFirst sees the deal a way of tapping into the growing popularity of social networking sites as a gaming platform.

Most recently, the company has also launched its own Facebook-specific ad network.

More about RockYou

RockYou is a leading provider of applications and widgets on the web. RockYou widgets include photo slideshows, glitter text, customized Facebook applications and voicemail accessories that are simple to use and enable people to frequently refresh their online style. Founded in 2006, RockYou has over 35 million users, serving over 180 million widget views per day in more than 200 countries. RockYou applications are customized for easy integration across all social networks including Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Friendster, Tagged and hi5. RockYou’s cost-effective, results-focused advertising platform is the largest Ad Network on Facebook and the most dynamic method for rapidly acquiring Facebook application users. New applications can reach over 100k users in 24 hours, spanning a suite of applications across multiple publishing partners.

Widgets offered are as followed:

  • Slideshows (your photos with music, captions and a theme)
  • PhotoFX (stylize your photos)
  • Glitter FXtext (add glitter and more to your text)
  • FunNotes (choose a theme, caption and effects for your note)
  • Countdown Timer (countdown to important events)
  • Group Corkboard (you and your friends can add pictures, text and more to the corkboard)
  • MySpace Layouts (make your myspace page aesthetically pleasing)
  • ShoutOuts (record your voice and send it to a friend)
  • Scratcher (scratch your picture like a lottery ticket and see what’s hidden behind)
  • VoiceMail (allows your friends to leave voice comments on your page)
  • Games (make your profile or blog more fun by adding games to it)
  • Horoscope (get daily horoscopes and find out your compatibility with friends)
  • Movies (let your friends know what your favorite movies are)
  • Avatars (create an animated version of yourself to put on your profile)

RockYou was originally named RockMySpace. RockYou is funded by Sequoia Capital, Partech International and Lightspeed Venture Partners. The company took funding in two rounds where Series A was $1.50M and the VCs participating were First Round Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Sequoia Capital and the Series B round of funing was for $15.00M and participants were the same VCs plus Partech International. The total funding is $16.5M to date.

More about the Investors

Sequoia Capital
Sequoia Capital provides startup venture capital for very smart people who want to turn ideas into companies. As the “Entrepreneurs Behind the Entrepreneurs”, Sequoia Capital’s Partners have worked with innovators such as Steve Jobs of Apple Computer, Larry Ellison of Oracle, Bob Swanson of Linear Technology, Sandy Lerner and Len Bozack of Cisco Systems, Dan Warmenhoven of Network Appliance, Jerry Yang and David Filo of Yahoo!, Jen-Hsun Huang of nVIDIA, Michael Marks of Flextronics, Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen of YouTube, Steve Goldman and Sujal Patel of Isilon Systems and Dominic Orr and Keerti Melkote of Aruba Wireless Networks. To learn more about Sequoia Capital visit

Lightspeed Venture Partners
Lightspeed Venture Partners combines extensive venture capital and operating experience to assist entrepreneurs in creating industry-leading technology companies. Lightspeed manages $1.3 billion of committed capital and focuses on seed and early-stage information technology investments in the U.S., Israel and Asia. The firm’s partners have invested in more than 100 technology companies over the past two decades and have contributed to the success of market leaders including Blue Nile, Brocade, Ciena, Galileo Technology, Informatica, Kiva Software, Metasolv,, Quantum Effect Devices, Sirocco and Waveset. For more information, please visit our Website at

Partech International
Founded in 1982, Partech International is a leading global venture capital firm with $850M under management and offices in the U.S., Europe and Israel. Partech invests exclusively in Information Technology and the firm’s internationally integrated team of investing partners work together closely to find the most innovative companies demonstrating high return potential and disruptive technologies in the Software & Internet, Communications & Components and Healthcare IT sectors. Partech has a unique 20+ year track record assisting its portfolio companies to become global market leaders. To learn more go to

We basically think RockYou is one of the top acquisition targets for 2008 as the price could be anything but in the “hundreds of millions” range.


Behavioral recommendation service for shoppers raises $10 Million, market heats up

A couple of months ago MyBuys raised $10 Million in Series B funding aimed to help online merchants sell more by utilizing behavioral targeting techniques. The company provides software to ecommerce stores that allows them to serve up ads and products based on your behavior – for example, tracking what you search for and showing related items during a future visit. Lightspeed participated in this latest round, which was led by Palomar Ventures.

“The funding further validates MyBuys’ unmatched targeting ability using our proprietary, patent pending technology,” said Robert E. Cell, CEO of MyBuys. “This investment will enable us to significantly increase our market momentum.”

MyBuys, which introduced MyBuys 3.0 earlier this year, delivers the industry’s first 1:1 behavioral recommendation service that targets consumers both while they are shopping and in follow up emails. MyBuys presents products a consumer is truly interested in buying, which enables online retailers to achieve extraordinary 300% higher revenue per customer interaction.

“As pressure grows to maintain high growth rates in ecommerce, MyBuys’ service will become a competitive requirement for online retailers,” said Amanda Reed, partner at Palomar Ventures. “With this financing, MyBuys will have an opportunity to further its ability to provide the greatest revenue lift for online retailers.”

“With its innovative approach to targeting and optimization, MyBuys offers the most effective solution to this burgeoning market,” said Peter Nieh, partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners. “MyBuys can significantly improve the profitability of online merchants by enabling them to more fully monetize the website traffic that they have spent substantial dollars to generate.”

These services are used by online retailers to show you potentially interesting merchandise, by tracking what you have already been looking at or buying before. If you do a lot of online shopping for designer jeans, a service like MyBuys may recommend especially popular or discounted designer jeans to you.

The company makes money by receiving a cut of revenue from the retailer when users purchase suggested products.

Mybuys is already being used in retail sites such as camera site Ritz Interactive, urban style site Karmaloop, and fabric site Hancock Fabrics. The company also said it builds behavioral profiles on each consumer.

More about MyBuys

MyBuys is a 1:1 behavioral recommendation service for online merchants. MyBuys builds deep behavioral profiles on each consumer resulting in the highest converting recommendations. By reaching consumers on a client’s web site, through email, and in RSS feeds, retailers realize more repeat visits, increased conversions, and larger order sizes. MyBuys generates revenues at 300% the rate of traditional marketing programs, with no upfront costs and a pay for performance model, so customers realize immediate results with no risk.

MyBuys 1:1 behavioral product recommendation service is a truly comprehensive service proven to deliver real results such as:

• Increasing conversion rates with relevant, personal recommendations

• Re-activating former customers by targeting their interests

• Increasing basket size through relevant, personal cross sells and up sells

• Recovering lost sales due to shopping cart abandonment or items out of stock

• Increasing overall lifetime customer value by driving your customers to your site more often to make more purchases

MyBuys is based in Redwood City, California and is managed by Robert Cell (CEO), Mark Weiler (VP of Engineering), and Paul Rosenblum (VP of Marketing).

Management team

Robert Cell
Chief Executive Officer

Robert Cell is an expert in retail, advertising, and consumer products. Most recently, Robert was Chief Executive Officer of AdSpace Networks, where he led the company through rapid growth and strategic restructuring to focus on becoming a mall advertising network while also growing, and subsequently, divesting its CoolSign video merchandising enterprise business. Under his leadership as Chief Operating Officer at Blue Martini Software, a pioneer in e-commerce solutions, the market capitalization tripled, license revenue doubled, and net results increased by $40M. Prior to Blue Martini, Robert served as the Vice President of Corporate Development for Kellogg Company and as General Manager for its Lender’s Bagel Division. In addition to leading Kellogg’s external growth and acquisitions, he led the turnaround of the Lender’s Bagel Division, tripled its value, and divested the unit for nearly $300M. Preceding his tenure with the Kellogg Company, he was Managing Director and co-founder of Deloitte and Touche LLP’s Midwest Corporate Finance practice responsible for advising the region’s clients on acquisitions and joint ventures. Robert holds an MBA with High Distinction and a BSE from the University of Michigan. 
Paul Rosenblum
Vice President of Products and Strategy

Paul Rosenblum has over 20 years of experience defining the strategic direction of successful products for the retail industry. Prior to MyBuys, Paul was Entrepreneur in Residence at Redpoint Ventures. Earlier, he was responsible for product strategy at Pay By Touch, the leading biometric payment system for retailers. Previously, he served as Vice President of Marketing at Movaris, where he repositioned the company as an early leader in Sarbanes-Oxley compliance systems for Fortune 1000 companies. As Vice President of Product Marketing at Blue Martini Software, he was responsible for defining retail eMerchandising. Prior to that, he was Senior Director of Product Marketing at Siebel Systems where he was responsible for the definition of Siebel’s flagship sales effectiveness products and launched Siebel’s first vertical market solutions. Paul holds an SB in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Lisa Joy Rosner
Vice President of Marketing

Lisa Joy Rosner has over 16 years of experience launching, rebranding, and driving revenue for high-tech companies in Silicon Valley. Lisa joined the MyBuys team from BroadVision Inc., an early innovator of personalized e-commerce solutions. During her four-year tenure as Vice President, Worldwide Marketing, she re-launched the company, introduced three new products into the global market, and was part of the team that returned the company to profitability. Previously, as Vice President, Marketing, at DecisionPoint Applications, a financial performance management software provider, she transformed the company brand, aligned sales and marketing processes and added industry-leading companies to the customer base. Prior to that, Lisa launched Market-Touch Corporation where she pioneered and evangelized a new category in CRM – Sales Effectiveness. She has also served in senior business development, marketing and education management roles at Brio Technology, SGI, and Oracle Corporation. Lisa graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Maryland with a BA in English Literature. 

Mark Weiler
Vice President of Engineering

Mark Weiler provides the technical and visionary leadership to MyBuys Engineering team. He brings over 16 years of experience in building high quality solutions in the areas of Web Applications, Enterprise Applications, Infrastructure, and Systems software. Most recently, Mark was Vice President Engineering at NorthStar Systems Inc., where he was part of the founding team and was responsible for first 8 versions of the company’s leading Wealth Management and Asset Management solutions. Prior to joining NorthStar, he managed the teams responsible for building B2B connectors and EAI adapters for Extricity (acquired by Peregrine) whose Alliance B2B product line was used to automate supply chains including RosettaNet processes for several major electronics vendors. Before Extricity/Peregrine, he developed a number of products at Microsoft, notably Exchange Server, MAPI, and LAN Manager and he was a key member of the Exchange X.400 Message Transfer Agent on the first four releases of Exchange Server. Mark holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara. 
Len Eschweiler
Vice President, Sales

Len Eschweiler has over 13 years of sales leadership experience in the e-commerce sector. Prior to joining MyBuys, he was an early team member of MarketLive, an industry leading e-commerce platform and solutions provider where he served as Vice President, Sales and Marketing, and most recently headed up European expansion efforts as Vice President of Strategy, Europe. Previously, he was Director of Sales and Marketing for IMS-Net, a start-up focused on serving the needs of commodity trading via an Internet based trading marketplace. Before entering the software arena, he founded one of the first online music distribution sites for unsigned artists. Len studied computer science at Colorado State University and holds a BS in Finance with a minor in Music from Sonoma State University. 

Shaun Schooley
Vice President, Client Success

Shaun Schooley is charged with ensuring MyBuys clients receive the most efficient deployment and the highest performing implementation of the MyBuys service. He brings over 20 years of senior management experience in marketing. Most recently, he was Vice President of Strategic Marketing at Naehas, a web-based marketing solution to create customized and personalized web pages, where he maintained major client relationships and led follow-up programs for Fortune 500 firms. Prior to Naehas, Shaun spent over 19 years in financial services and technology marketing with companies such as Charles Schwab,, and Wells Fargo. Shaun is a frequent industry speaker at 1:1 marketing events sponsored by the DMA, U.S. Postal Service, and the National Center for Database Marketers. He holds several patents in electronic payment technologies and he holds an undergraduate degree from Hastings College and an MBA from Arizona State University.

More about Lightspeed Venture Partners

Lightspeed Venture Partners is a technology-focused venture capital firm that manages $1.3 billion of capital commitments. We closed Lightspeed VII, a $480 million fund, at the end of 2005. Over the past two decades, our partners have invested in more than 120 companies, many of which have gone on to become leaders in their respective industries. Our team invests in the U.S. and internationally from offices in Menlo Park, China, India, and Israel.

We are proud to have partnered with many exceptional management teams. Our investment professionals have contributed domain expertise and operational experience to help build high-growth, market-leading companies such as Blue Nile (NILE), Brocade (BRCD), Ciena (CIEN), DoubleClick (DCLK), Informatica (INFA), Kiva Software (acquired by AOL), Openwave (OPWV), Quantum Effect Devices (acquired by PMCS), Sirocco (acquired by SCMR), and Waveset (acquired by SUNW). Some of our recent exits include the top-performing tech IPO of 2006, Riverbed Technology (RVBD), and the top enterprise software acquisition of 2006, Virsa Systems (acquired by SAP).

Lightspeed is known to be all about ecommerce. We are only seeing the “tip of the iceberg” in e-commerce, the firm’s top blogger Jeremy Liew wrote in June — he thinks there will be “many more” e-commerce companies that grow to make more than $500 million in revenue by using behavioral targeting and other methods of matching purchasers with products they’re most likely to buy.

More about Palomar Ventures

Palomar Ventures was launched in 1999 by veteran venture capitalists to focus on early stage information technology companies that demonstrate the potential for exceptional growth and market leadership. The founding principle of Palomar is teamwork; we work closely with our portfolio companies to assist them in achieving their objectives. The partners at Palomar have contributed their strategic insight, network of corporate relationships, and recruiting skills to assist in building nearly 50 public companies.

Palomar Ventures is currently investing Palomar III, a $225 million fund, bringing total capital under management to over $500 million. A typical investment involves $2 million to $5 million in capital, and we prefer to act as a lead or co-lead investor early in the process of value formation. We believe that beginning early with a company is the best way to utilize our experience in building value rapidly by focusing the company on a small number of key milestones.

The market

Behavioral advertising and behavioral targeting are both lately becoming yet another hot area in the online marketing space, with Tacoda recently acquired by AOL for an estimated amount of $200-300 million. Start ups are trying to analyze every move you do online and try to hook you up with the right ads, products and services. MyBuys is making no exception it tracks user behavior to help online retailers make better recommendations.

Competition in the field is staggering and some of the names include StyleFeeder relying on community recommendations and raised $1M so far, Wunderloop, Baynote, Matchmine, which also raised $10M recently and not last Aggregate Knowledge, which once used to be a hot start-up in the Silicon Valley.

The demand among online retailers for better behavioral tracking is so high right now that MyBuys and its startup competitors are all able to gather this “low hanging fruit” –Lightspeed Venture Partner’s Peter Nieh explains further.

The market shakeout in behavioral targeting will resemble search engines startup in the 1990’s, Nieh, a Lightspeed Venture Partner, thinks: Many companies were able to search the web, but Google ended up doing it way better than the others, and captured the largest portion of the market.

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