Loic Le Meur raises $6 million for videomail startup

Blogger turned entrepreneur Loic Le Meur has raised $6 million to inflict on the world a decades-old technology thoroughly rejected by consumers: videomail. He calls it Seesmic, and has repackaged videomail as "video conversations." Really, what this means is that the same people who film videoblogs you promise to watch but never do have a new way of forcing themselves on you. Video is one of the most inefficient means of communication, suited only for self-important types who overvalue their own thoughts and undervalue the time of those they speak to. Which makes it perfect for Le Meur and the star-studded list of investors he's rounded up — including TechCrunch's Michael Arrington, whose blog has conveniently touted Seesmic at every turn. The press release is ludicrously embargoed, since it tells us nothing we haven't already heard from loquacious Loic. All the same, here it is:

From: Heddi Cundle Sent: 13 February 2008 To: [redacted] Subject: Seesmic Raises $6 million - Embargo Release

I hope you're well. Please find below a press release under embargo until 5am (pst) tomorrow. Please let me know if you'd like to interview Loic Le Meur by phone before or after embargo lifts.

I'll call shortly but any immediate questions, don't hesitate to contact me. My details are at the end of this email.

Kind regards

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Seesmic Raises $6 Million to Power

the World's Video Conversations

A-List investors are led by Niklas Zennström's Atomico and include Steve Case, Ron Conway, Jeff Clavier, and Reid Hoffman

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - February 14, 2008 - Seesmic (www.seesmic.com), the highly anticipated new start-up from Loic Le Meur, today announced that it has raised $6 million from internationally renowned investors. The investment is lead by Atomico - an investment group founded by Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis. The complete list of investors is:

* Michael Arrington - Founder, TechCrunch
* Steve Case - Co-Founder and former CEO and Chairman, AOL
* Jeff Clavier - Managing Partner, SoftTech VC
* Ron Conway - Early investor, Google
* Steve Garfield - Pioneering video blogger
* Dan Gillmor - Director, Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship
* Reid Hoffman - Founder, LinkedIn
* Michael Parekh - Managing Director, Goldman Sachs
* Mark Pincus - Co-Founder and former Chairman and CEO, SupportSoft
* Ariel Poler - Founder and former CEO, IPRO and Topica
* Jeff Pulver - Chairman and Founder, Pulver.com
* Martin Varsavsky - Founder, FON

Until now, online communication has lacked personality, being limited to text (IM, SMS, email). Seesmic changes that, bringing conversation alive through video, allowing users to be seen and heard and to broadcast themselves. Still in closed alpha, Loic is building Seesmic in the open, with the help and guidance of the Seesmic community. Through his daily video blog loic.tv and the "feature request" function on the Seesmic site, Loic and his team gather suggestions and solicit feedback from the community about the platform and its functionality.

"I'm thrilled to have such an unprecedented group of high-profile business leaders, entrepreneurs, and angel investors validate the potential for Seesmic," said Loic Le Meur, Founder and CEO of Seesmic. "This significant investment will enable us to launch a site built by and for our community, incorporating the products and features they've told us they want through their Seesmic conversations."

"Seesmic has grasped the opportunity to evolve the way people express themselves and converse online. Theirs is an exciting vision and I look forward to supporting the team," said Niklas Zennström, Co-Founder of Skype.

"At last, the Internet is really social: you can see and hear people express their ideas and thoughts, you can join in, and you can make new friends. With Seesmic, everyone can participate in live conversations rich with personality, bought to life through video," commented Ron Conway.

About Seesmic

Seesmic brings online conversation to life through video. Straight from their webcams, Seesmic enables users to easily post videos of their thoughts and ideas and participate in video conversations with the world.

Founded by Loic Le Meur - France's best-known blogger, entrepreneur, founder of the largest European web event LeWeb3, and Internet Advisor to French President Sarkozy - Seesmic is changing the way people converse on the Web.

What Seesmic's community says about Seesmic:

"The difference between YouTube and Seesmic is that YouTube puts video at the center, whereas Seesmic puts people at the center," Stephanie Booth, Lausanne, Switzerland's best known blogger.

Heddi Cundle
Consort Partners Ltd