Social Browser RockMelt Secures "Serious" $30M

Boldly trying to reshape the browser, RockMelt just secured $30 million in funding from Accel Partners, Khosla Ventures, and Andreessen Horowitz. Officially launched this past November, RockMelt incorporates popular social networking services like Facebook and Twitter so users can take their friends with them around the Web.

"Facebook is the people-centric Internet, and we are the people-centric browser," Eric Vishria, RockMelt's co-founder and CEO, explained to The Los Angeles Times.

Meanwhile, a recent Facebook partnership will serve as a model for others, according to Vishria. "Our goal is to build services right into the browser," Vishria said. Those services will include commerce, gaming and music, he added. Additional investors include Intuit chairman Bill Campbell, First Round Capital's Josh Kopelman and angel investor Ron Conway. Jim Breyer, famous for leading Accel's investment in Facebook, and clean-tech investor Vinod Khosla have also joined RockMelt's board as observers.

"That's some pretty serious money," TechCrunch says of RockMelt's new investors. And, that's "despite attracting only a few hundred thousand active users since its much-hyped launch."

What do RockMelt's investors see in the start-up? "Could it have anything to do with the special interest Facebook is showing towards the social browser?" TechCrunch asks. "After all, both Marc Andreessen and Jim Breyer are now board members of both RockMelt and Facebook. Seems like an interesting coincidence."

Also of note, RockMelt has been especially embraced by young users, according to CEO Eric Vishria. "Fifty-six percent of active RockMelt users are age 24 and younger, and most of them use the browser's chat feature on a daily basis," writes All Things D. "The browser certainly hinges on social tools, but it also leverages Google's search engine to help users find content," eWeek points out. "There is also a version of RockMelt for Apple's iPhone."

Long term, "RockMelt's goal is to amass 'hundreds of millions' of users ... but its executives declined to specify a time frame or be more specific about numbers," Reuters reports.

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