Friendster nabs ex-Google exec as CEO, $20M in funding

Cash injection to expand Asia Pacific focus

Social networking site Friendster has announced it has appointed former Google managing director for South East Asia Richard Kimber as its new CEO and received a further $20 million in venture funding.

Kimber will join Friendster as CEO and member of its board of directors after two years managing Google's South East Asia sales and operations where he opened offices in Singapore and Auckland.

Some of his previous posts include CEO for FirstDirect Bank in the UK, global head of e-marketing and CEO of HSBC Internet Payment at HSBC Bank USA, and associate director at Westpac Banking Corp.

With 75 million members, Friendster claims to be the ninth largest Web site in the world based on traffic and the number one social network in Asia.

Kimber said Friendster is growing at an "enormous rate" in the Asia Pacific region and utilizing the Internet to connect to friends is one of its greatest benefits, and is changing the way relationships work globally.

Friendster recently raised $20 million in funding from new investor IDG Ventures, a global network of venture capital funds.

The new funding will be used to extend Friendster's position in the Asia Pacific region.

In addition to IDG Ventures, all current institutional investors made additional investments as part of this round of funding - Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures and Founders Fund.

Joining Friendster's board from IDG is Butch Reddy.

Friendster chairman of the board and partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Russ Siegelman, said the addition of Richard, Butch and the new funding, will allow Friendster to continue to expand its worldwide footprint and take advantage of its leadership position in Asia Pacific.

IDG Ventures is an IDG company, the publisher of TechWorld Australia.

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