Bebo founder’s new political site goes into stealth mode in Ireland

3 Aug 2010

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Bebo founder Michael Birch’s new political website Jolitics.com is to go into stealth mode in Ireland in the next 48 hours. While the start-up will be based in Silicon Valley, Birch wants to grow it out of Ireland first.

An email has been doing the rounds inviting the first 50 founding members to join the new service.

According to the email: “The start up is based in Silicon Valley, but Michael is going to try something a little unorthodox and grow it out from Ireland and not from Silicon Valley first. If successful this could set a new trend where we get to see the new stuff first.”

Birch and his wife Xochi sold Bebo to AOL in March 2008 for US$850m. The couple’s combined 70pc stake yielded them a profit of US$595m. However, in the last few months AOL sold Bebo to a private investment firm, Criterion Capital Partners.

One of the main investors in Bebo early on was Balderton Capital, led by Irishman Barry Maloney.

Since then, Birch has been a co-investor in MyStore.com alongside Julian Lennon and Gordon Crawford, as well as Goodreads, a social networking site for book readers.

Confirmed

The new site Jolitics.com is clearly politically oriented and an anonymous source said the email seen by Siliconrepublic is genuine and indeed confirms that Birch is starting the site in Ireland.

“He believes it is the perfect place to start with a few early adopters before rolling it out in the US. He expects global adoption to be rapid.”

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com