June 11, 2007 |
Me.dium has just announced receiving $15 million in series B funding from various venture partners. According to our communique with Me.dium this round of investing was led by Commonwealth Venture Partners. Me.dium's existing investors Spark Capital, Appian Ventures and Brad Feld also took part in what is to be the driving push to open the doors to one of the year's most anticipated betas. This latest round brings Me.dium's total funding to $20 million since their June, 2006 founding.
Me.dium is a consumer software company that was just selected as one of Webware's Top 100. The service offers an Internet browser extension where users can see what others are doing online and interact with them in real time. Me.dium's Social Exploration Environment TM (SEE) graphically connects people with others doing similar tasks. The vision of this innovation is to allow people to interact online as they do in the physical world.
This author has visited nearly every increment of the company's development. The people at Me.dium have always afforded me the most helpful and friendly access, and I was able to talk with CEO Kimbal Musk and Co-Founder David Mandell on Friday about this latest news and Me.dium in general.
Scale and Dollars
$15 million was the primary subject of our casual chat, and perhaps my biggest question was: “Where does Me.dium go from here?” Both Kimbal and David exuded something of a sigh of relief that reflected the breathing room this round of funding affords the Me.dium project. According to Kimbal Me.dium intends to open the doors wide late this summer and the scalability issues that have always been present in this undertaking seem to have been addressed with this funding. The backend and programming aspects of the “full grown” Me.dium platform are the most expensive to complete so the additional capital equals a proportionate increment in scale.
One of the most difficult tasks for Me.dium has been explaining the vision not only to investors but to users as well. To the casual eye Me.dium appears as an ordinary widget, but the heart of the innovation “real time matching” is a massive undertaking. David Mandell said: “So far Me.dium has been concentrated on getting the infrastructure and features right, but the task of scaling Me.dium to accommodate millions of users is monumental compared with even the most complex MMOG's.” Kimbal made the comparison well by explaining that what Me.dium is trying to scale is almost infinite compared to gaming or other servers being relatively finite realms.
With the finalized funding news Me.dium has also released a new interface designed by Neville Brody that further heightens user interaction in surfing together and meeting other people with similar interests. According to Kimbal Me.dium can now easily accommodate 100,000 or more users and the server side scalability aspect essentially requires additional iron.
I asked Kimbal about possible collateral applications of the technology, because the finished Me.dium project will have unparalleled real matching capabilities and I was interested to know if the analyzed data could produce ranking and similar stats for pages. Kimbal assured me that the possibility of a “real time” rating rather than say Alexa's delayed system is possible along with a host of other applications.
However, the sharing and contextual user experience is by far the primary goal and they intend to eventually be something that everyone uses and their approach to users and other sites is really as a helper rather than a competitor. One good example of this is the way bloggers or site owners might attract their friends with the Me.dium interface. People tend to congregate where their friends are and a simple illustration (left) shows how one blogger attracted a score of friends to his site.
I think once people get in the habit of using me.dium it will become a versatile and every day function of using their Web. Like any other application Me.dium has to be “adopted” into the regimen of the user. When the service is IE capable the user base will surely grow rapidly, and I know this is high on the priority list for the Me.dium folks.
My affinity for Me.dium is well known and well founded. The people there are exceptional and extremely adept. The “proof in the pudding' however is their continued commitment to seeing this vision through. This series of funding illustrates their superb innovation as well as the confidence their work has instilled in their moneyed faithful.
Continued improvements will follow the aforementioned scaling with customizable UI looks and additional user feedback generated improvements. The richness of the user experience will grow exponentially as more people interact. I would like to congratulate my friends at Me.dium on this latest news and we look forward to their continued success. I invite you all to get the Me.dium experience from this special link.