Dublin-headquartered social networker raises US$30m

29 Jan 2008

A Web 2.0 social networking technology start-up that is headquartered in Dublin and employs 55 people has raised just under US$30m from private investors, who include the founders of the Home Depot retail chain, siliconrepublic.com has learned.

Digital media company Mainstream Holdings’ Dublin-based MOLI website aims to address the question of individual privacy raised by the onset of popular social networking sites like Bebo, Facebook and MySpace.

MOLI’s technology allows community members to manage multiple profiles from one account.

“It is designed for enterprising individuals entering that next major lifestyle change, beginning in the late twenties, when control over personal privacy is a more compelling issue,” said Judy Balint, chief operating officer of MOLI.

“MOLI is a diverse, sophisticated site where professionally-produced content coupled with interactive e-commerce features enables members to connect and conduct business with other discerning individuals, groups and businesses in Ireland, the US and the UK, along with other international sites planned for 2008,” she added.

The new private investors in Mainstream Holdings are Home Depot founders Bernard Marcus and Kenneth Langone, as well as Steven Holzman of Vantis Capital Management. The three will become members of Mainstream’s board of directors.

Mainstream was established by Dr Christos Cotsakos, a well-known US businessman and philanthropist. Dr Cotsakos was previously chairman and CEO of E-Trade and chief operating officer of AC Nielsen.

Mainstream focuses on four industry segments: e-commerce, behavioural marketing, high-definition video production and software and infrastructure development. MOLI is its core operating subsidiary.

Dr Cotsakos provided US$20m of early-stage capital and a select group of private investors provided an additional US$6m in equity.

Dr Cotsakos’ various philanthropic projects include upgrading medical systems in the Quang Tri Province in Vietnam, where there are still more than 350,000 tonnes of unexploded ordnance left over from the war; the Vietnam Veterans Education Centre in Washington DC; and funding for the William Paterson University in New Jersey, where a business school has been named after him.

By John Kennedy