in Montreal

identi.ca gets funding, and a case of bad timing

I learned through GigaOM this morning that Montreal-based Identi.ca has taken a round of funding from Montreal Startup. I was, and remain, a big supporter of Identi.ca and first covered it back in July, 2008.

It appears that Montreal Startup is the sole funder in this round so I will assume that GigaOM is right and the amount of funding is probably in the $200,000 to $400,000 range.

This is exciting news for the Canadian startup community, but just after hearing it this morning I came across this announcement from Google. In November 2007, Google acquired Jaiku, a “lifestreaming” service that resembles Twitter and which preceeded services such as Friendfeed which largely copy its functionality, and it was founded even before Twitter.

Google is announcing today that they are going open-source and will be making Jaiku freely available. On top of that, you will be able to easily deploy it to the Google App Engine.

I am not sure of the exact impact of Jaiku going open-source, but it no doubt has some impact on Identi.ca’s plans. I am confident that Evan and Montreal Startup will take this development in to account, and I certainly believe that there is more than enough room for a few open source applications to thrive.

  • http://identi.ca/evan Evan Prodromou

    It's funny — you're not the first person to think this was bad for Identi.ca. Au contraire! Google seems very enthusiastic about “creating a freely available and federated, open source microblogging platform.” An Open Source Jaiku could be easily hooked into the OpenMicroBlogging network, meaning we'd have a much bigger network of sites.

    Is the Jaiku software a direct challenge? Not really. It runs on Google App Engine, which is really great for a certain class of deployment. Other folks are going to be looking for different hosting options — including deployment inside the enterprise. I think that Identica's software will be a very compelling option there.

    So I'm psyched to hear about Jaiku: it's all upside for us. Anyways: thanks for the congrats, and keep your eye out — lots more news to come in the next 6 weeks.

  • http://evan.status.net/ Evan Prodromou

    It’s funny — you’re not the first person to think this was bad for Identi.ca. Au contraire! Google seems very enthusiastic about “creating a freely available and federated, open source microblogging platform.” An Open Source Jaiku could be easily hooked into the OpenMicroBlogging network, meaning we’d have a much bigger network of sites.

    Is the Jaiku software a direct challenge? Not really. It runs on Google App Engine, which is really great for a certain class of deployment. Other folks are going to be looking for different hosting options — including deployment inside the enterprise. I think that Identica’s software will be a very compelling option there.

    So I’m psyched to hear about Jaiku: it’s all upside for us. Anyways: thanks for the congrats, and keep your eye out — lots more news to come in the next 6 weeks.

  • http://startupcfo.ca Mark MacLeod

    I think identi.ca can become the Ning of micromessaging spawning many communities. Open sourcing creates many deployment and extension scenarios, as well as multiple monetization paths. More than twitter. And if Jaiku is tied to the app engine, then – at least for now – you can't do anything at real scale on that.

    All good.

  • http://startupcfo.ca/ Mark MacLeod

    I think identi.ca can become the Ning of micromessaging spawning many communities. Open sourcing creates many deployment and extension scenarios, as well as multiple monetization paths. More than twitter. And if Jaiku is tied to the app engine, then – at least for now – you can’t do anything at real scale on that.

    All good.

  • http://www.billionswithzeroknowledge.com Austin Hill

    Congrats to Evan & the Identi.ca team.

    (Disclosure: I'm a Venture Partner @ MontrealStartup who did this deal) – I think the best model for understanding the value proposition for Identi.ca is WordPress. Very few people thought there was a need for another blogging platform after Blogger & Moveable Type. As we've seen the availability of a open source ecosystem for blogging that was friendly for extensions, themes, developers of add-ons has created a rich ecosystem that Automattic & WordPress.com have profited from.

    While the current Twitter/Jaiku/Yammer (et all) focus of microblogging is exciting – it also misses the fact that microblogging like email is here to stay, and as with blogging or email there will be many different needs & solutions in the marketplace.

    Evan has done a great job in getting Identi.ca moving forward as a good open source platform that has the potential to offer developers, corporations, hosting partners and major portals the ability to mix up their own flavor of microblogging using the Identi.ca platform.

  • http://www.jonasbrandon.com Jonas

    Austin, that is an interesting way to frame Identi.ca's value proposition / market position. Excited to see what's next to come from Identi.ca!

  • http://www.billionswithzeroknowledge.com Austin Hill

    Congrats to Evan & the Identi.ca team.

    (Disclosure: I’m a Venture Partner @ MontrealStartup who did this deal) – I think the best model for understanding the value proposition for Identi.ca is WordPress. Very few people thought there was a need for another blogging platform after Blogger & Moveable Type. As we’ve seen the availability of a open source ecosystem for blogging that was friendly for extensions, themes, developers of add-ons has created a rich ecosystem that Automattic & WordPress.com have profited from.

    While the current Twitter/Jaiku/Yammer (et all) focus of microblogging is exciting – it also misses the fact that microblogging like email is here to stay, and as with blogging or email there will be many different needs & solutions in the marketplace.

    Evan has done a great job in getting Identi.ca moving forward as a good open source platform that has the potential to offer developers, corporations, hosting partners and major portals the ability to mix up their own flavor of microblogging using the Identi.ca platform.

  • http://www.jonasbrandon.com Jonas

    Austin, that is an interesting way to frame Identi.ca’s value proposition / market position. Excited to see what’s next to come from Identi.ca!