RockYou, Asian Silicon Valley Co-founders Look To Rock Asia

2 min read

[Gang Lu: There are some companies which you know they are based in Silicon Valley or somewhere outside Asia and they are already the shining stars in global web2.0 industry, but you probably do not know their co-founders are actually originally from Asia. They obviously have some advantage when they expand to Asia. We are going to discover more about them and introduce them to Asia web too. We believe, the Asia web can learn from them, and on the other hand, you can see them as the examples, the examples of the Innovation which you will see soon from Asia. RockYou is one of the greatest.

And, If you are aware of how hot the Open Platform is in China, you will feel how much we need a platform like RockYou. I just can not stop thinking, we may see many RockYou-likers showing up in 2009. ] 

RockYou, founded by Lance Tokuda and Jia Shen in 2006, is a widget/applications company for social networks.  RockYou, originally named RockMySpace, started out as a simple slideshow widget on MySpace and then moved into the realm of social applications with the advent of developer platforms on Facebook, MySpace, and OpenSocial.  After securing a strong foothold in the widget/application space in North America, RockYou is now gunning for Asia (It’s Chinese version has been launched).

RockYou now has the money, man power, and business partners to take on Asia.  The company received $52 million in funding in 2008, whereby $17 million came from Asian business partners, Japanese mobile carrier Softbank and Korean carrier mobile SK Telecom.  RockYou can rake in a large amount of money from Asia with these two partners since the Asian online marketplace have proven that they’re willing to spend money on virtual goods and mobile services.  Through Softbank, RockYou has access to both members of Xiaonei, the Facebook of China, and Yahoo Japan.  With SK Telecom, can access members of Cyworld.

However, RockYou is not just limited to those social networks in Asia. When I spoke to co-founder Jia Shen in an interview in late 2008, I asked him if he was working with Kaixin.  He told me that he sees RockYou as an arms dealer for social networks and is already working with them.  That’s smart since both Kaixin and Xiaonei are at odds with each other now, and being a supplier to both competing companies is a boon to RockYou.

If RockYou is successful in Asia, then I can see that RockYou has a chance to “go all the way” in regards to a potential IPO as Jia told me.  However, we’ll have to see how 2009’s economy turns out since 2008’s financial crisis is affecting the online advertising market.