Groups: The Next Generation

I have been procrastinating writing about the new round of funding for, primarily since it had already been widely reported.  Then, Fred’s post from this morning prompted me to finally post about both the round, and the other critical news from, the open-sourcing of the platform.

Fred’s conclusion is:

So using the less is more mantra, someone should build just that, make
it drop dead simple, and then build the killer API that lets everyone
build on top of that. It may be that the big social nets are in the
best spot to do that. Or maybe not.

Emre Sokullu, the founder and CEO of, commented on Fred’s blog, pointing out that the needs of group members and owners differ, which is a good point and an area that focuses on intently.

Another thing that has made a huge leap in is the open-sourcing of the platform.  This goes beyond the killer API solution Fred offers and is a critical step for wider adoption of  Some of the proceeds from the new round will go towards opening the whole system, which, according to Emre, will:

  • Commoditize the platform, makes it the natural choice of all online community leaders
  • Give the competitive advantage to hire the most talented and motivated people from the pool of open source contributors.
  • Let everyone create their own modules, share it with the rest of the world
  • Allow the team to rethink their framework and make it even more modular and easily extensible is already getting a lot of comparisons to Ning as a competitor.  The open-sourcing should help it stay competitive on the technology front.

Congratulations to Emre and the team on the new funding.  I’m also excited to be collaborating with the Golden Horn Ventures team to make a winner in social groupware.

4 thoughts on “Groups: The Next Generation

  1. While on the surface it sounds like a nice idea, how is this thing going to make money? Will it be the standard open source model of charging for support? Ning is free and a pure SaaS and advertising model. In the long run how will make money to stay competitive.


  2. Thanks Cem.
    Ratta, at the scale we aim, we can leave some money on the table and still be profitable. It’s possible to do that while staying ad-free and open source.


  3. The point that Ratta touched is one of the main problems of the start-ups. But thinking of different opportunities to make money, there are more than enough ways to earn money ( other than adding ads to everywhere ).
    As has still much way to go to be a popular service, it must first aim to upgrade its services to a better stage i think.


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