Linden Lab raises $11 million to go more mainstream
, the San Francisco company that has created a virtual world game called Second Life
, has raised $11 million more in venture capital, led by Globespan Capital Partners.
Jeff Bezos, chief executive of Amazon.com, participated in the round. So that tells you something. Second Life is going to become even more commercial than it already is.
Indeed, Philip Rosedale, chief executive of Linden Lab, tells us he wants to make the game more mainstream, so that people can make money by doing or selling whatever they want. Second Life now boasts 165,000 residents, and of those around 20,000 people are using it every day, he said. Players are spending $5 million on goods and services per month, on things like clothing and jewelry that they can buy from others. You multiply that by 12 months, and you have an annual economy of about $60 million at Second Life. Not bad.
He said about 180,000 distinct items were bought or traded last month, which makes the selection on Second Life about the "size of four WalMarts,'' he said. He said the next challenge is to draw people who have less free time on their hands, which means allowing them to find things and places by giving them more sophisticated search technology, for example.
Noteworthy are the four or five night clubs where you can find people playing live music. "It's pretty similar to the world, minus eating," Rosedale says. He said one music label actually released a new artist via Second Life -- by uploading the artist's music in one of these bars. A couple of hundred visitors will stop by to hear folks play in one of these popular clubs, Rosedale says, which is "frankly, more than you'd get in a club in San Francisco, unless you're stepping up to the Fillmore."
Current investors Benchmark Capital, Catamount Ventures, software pioneer Mitch Kapor, and the Omidyar Network also participated in the round.
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Naval Ravikant, the co-founder of Epinions will launch Hive7 tomorrow, the latest in about five companies that he conceived last year. In the case of Hive7, he brainstormed the idea with Russian-born entrepreneur Max Skibinsky, funded it, and Skibinsk...
March 29, 2006 11:16 PM
I went to the website but couldn't figure out whether this was a 3D game kinda thing or a 3D world which is available on the web. Can somebody clear this out for me please?
"So that tells you something. Second Life is going to become even more commercial than it already is."
To clarify, SL isn't commercial in the sense that big brands dominate the landscape. The large majority of content contains no real life correlation - it's users creating weird stuff.
Just making the point because companies like There and The Sims Online did make a very pointed effort to include real world brands and endow those digital goods with unique properties - i.e. Nike shoes make you run faster.
Thanks for clarification, Hunter,
Harshal, here's a link where you can find out more about how it works: http://secondlife.com/whatis/
Basically it is a virtual world, where you can create an avatar, search for places to visit, see if anyone is around, and then introduce yourself to them, chat, and even begin to buy land, and build things to sell.
"Jeff Bezos, chief executive of Amazon.com, participated in the round. So that tells you something."
Yeah, Jeff Bezos was also an investor in Dean Kamen's Segway fiasco. Don't get me wrong, I think SecondLife is amazing, but Jeff Bezos' investment history isn't exactly spotless ;-)