17 March, 2006

Ebay (and others) take 10% in Meetup

Missed this one earlier:

The investment will total just more than 10% equity interest in Meetup.com .... estimates put the investment -- in which eBay is joined by Omidyar Network, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Esther Dyson, Allen Co., and Senator Bill Bradley -- at less than $10 million.

Indeed, Meetup plans to use a portion of the investment to launch six conferences across the country not so dissimilar from the eBay Live conference the company holds annually to bring sellers together. Says Scott Heiferman, "We want to help organizers become great leaders." The first Meetup conference will happen in Houston in May.

Also, Meetup will use its new resources to launch an advertising campaign to draw attention to local groups.

The site had 54,000 Meetup groups listed last May, when it began charging a small subscription fee of up to $19 monthly to sponsor the groups. Since then the number of groups has dropped to just over 10,000, but more members have begun attending meetings. "Members are more active because the quality of the groups has improved," says Heiferman.

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