Microblogging Startup StatusNet Raises Seed Funding

Watch out, Twitter. Open-source microblogging startup StatusNet has raised $875,000 in a seed round of funding from Montreal Start Up, iNovia Capital, and European angel investor Oleg Tscheltzoff.

Founded in 2008, the Canadian startup's platform is used by organizations to set up their own Twitter-like sites, which they can choose to make public or private. It develops software that it says runs hundreds of microblogging sites across the Web, including the Identi.ca community.

The funds will go to flesh out the company's sales department, along with support and marketing, according to Evan Prodromou, CEO of StatusNet. "We plan to use this capital to build the sales, support and marketing power needed to take our software and services to the marketplace," he said.

The StatusNet engine allows companies and communities to set up their own Twitter-like Web site, so that employees, customers or friends can share quick status updates, links, and files. The engine includes APIs and tools to receive and send updates through IM and SMS as well as through Twitter and Facebook.

"StatusNet is ready to take its place in the market as the WordPress of microblogging," said John Stokes, lead partner at Montreal Start Up. "The growth of the Twitter platform has proven the importance of this medium, and we believe that StatusNet can play an important role in bringing this capability to broader audiences."

The company has commercialized the Open Source offering with support, customization services, and a hosting platform at status.net. The hosted service, currently in private beta, is scheduled to launch publicly before the year-end. Customers can choose between private sites, similar to yammer.com, and public sites for publishing or community engagement.

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