Behind’s Second Round Of Funding

    June 1, 2005

I’m sure most of you have heard Become has secured their second round of VC funding worth $7.2 million.

But I’m also sure you don’t know where a lot of the money came from or what’s going on at Become [other than what you read in the press releases]. Yesterday I chatted with Michael Yang to get an update on what’s happening over there and to find out how his presentation went yesterday at the Under The Radar conference.

Become’s Series B Round of Funding
So you’ve read everywhere they got a lot more money yesterday. But here’s what you didn’t read… One of the investors in this round is Keith Schorsch, a former VP from Amazon. Several of Michael’s family and friends as well as Yeogirls’ family and friends are also investors. Michael himself put some money in this round and as everyone knows, TransCosmos is also a major investor in this round.

Transcosmos is one of the most interesting investors in this round, not only because they participated in the first round as well but also because they recently invested in Pheedo, an RSS advertising company that’s beginning to go global. TransCosmos has an eye for spotting talent and the fact that they’re putting more money up is a good sign.

Additionally, Become is hiring big time. They have 7 – 8 positions up on their corporate site right now and just hired another researcher, a recent Stanford grad :). One of the more interesting positions they’re looking to fill is a “Senior Manager Online Traffic Acquisition”. If you can’t read between the lines then I’ll spell it out for you, someone that can drive lots of traffic at low cost, one of those methods is organic search engine optimization. So if you’re an seo and you think you’ve got what it takes then go ahead and apply.

Michael Presented At Under The Rader
When I spoke with Michael he was at the Under The Radar Conference and had already given his presentation. Under The Radar is…

Under the Radar… is a kind of ‘American Idol’ for startups. Nervous founders get to make a brief pitch in front of an audience of VCs, hoping for cash and access to the vast network of contacts that VCs can provide…
-Mike Langberg
San Jose Mercury News

The truth of the matter is that founders get 5 minutes to present their business plan, product or service and implementation plan and only 3 slides to do it in. Then they have a 5 minute round of rapid fire questions and answers. They’re judged by a VC panel that’s not only experienced but also shrewd. At the end of the day the panel of VC’s announces the winner and yesterday’s winner was not Become. It was a company called FatLens that helps you find tickets for a particular event by allowing you to describe the event. Honestly, I don’t see what makes FatLens all that unique from a technology standpoint but I’ll dig more into that later.

Michael said his presentation went well and he wasn’t hit with any surprise questions he wasn’t prepared for. When he said that I immediately felt tired for him. I’ve seen him give his presentation a few times and I can’t imagine having to give the same presentation, or even a variance of the presentation, over and over again. But that’s where the patience and persistence of a seasoned entrepreneur helps out. You know you’ll have to pitch and pitch and pitch because that’s just part of the game and Michael does a pretty good job at it.

So there you have it, a little behind the scenes action on become’s latest round of funding and what some of it means. Of course there’s more to it than even what I’ve divulged but you’ll have to stay tuned to get more info on that.

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Jason Dowdell is a technology entrepreneur and operates the Marketing Shift blog.