My Obsession With Online Identity

Today, we announced that we’ve led an $11 million round for and that I’ve joined the board.

I’ve been living online since the mid 1990’s. I’ve tried every service I could find to create an online identity for myself, even Geocities. Today, my identity is spread out over many things, including my blog, Twitter, Google+, Foursquare, our Foundry Group site, the Startup Revolution site, my relatively inactive Tumblr, Facebook, and a hundred other services I’ve dabbled with.

When appeared several years ago, I thought it was clever. I created an early account and then promptly forgot about it after AOL acquired it. I was intrigued when Tony Conrad, the co-founder, acquired it back from AOL. I started paying attention to it again, especially since I was deep in the opposite side of the problem addresses with our investment in FullContact.

I’ve known Tony for a long time and love working with him. I remember sitting in some theater in Chicago waiting to go on a panel at some startup event a few years ago and Tony literally grabbed my by the shoulders and said “you’ve got to meet this guy Bre Pettis.” That turned into our investment in Makerbot and another step along the path to me helping the machines take over.

When Tony reached out to me recently and said he was raising a round for, I jumped on it. At first I thought he’d already raised too much money for us to be interested, but when I realized he still had a lot of it in the bank, I got comfortable with going deep. It was an easy call – Tony is amazing, the numbers are amazing, the product is amazing, and he’s completely obsessed with it. As am I.

If you don’t have an account, go sign up and give it a spin. And get ready for some really awesome things, coming very soon.

  • Geremy Ferguson

    This is great news. I very much like the service and have used it as my primary landing page for a long while. Looking forward to the new awesome things the team will be putting together.

  • joelklee

    Signed up. Commencing spin.

  • Awesome to hear about the round and BIG things coming from! I’m curious if you would have any time to connect while you’re in KC? I would love to be afforded the opportunity to discuss online identity.

    • I’ve got a few things going on – email me and we’ll try to cross paths.

  • Kpass Official

    As a former AOLer, always seemed like one of the most underutilized products in our suite, and its awesome to see how far its come. With my own interest in digital identities, and my experience with AOL Kids, I have recently founded the company Kpass to help Kids create a digital identity online, while helping brands comply with the crazy COPPA laws. As we look to grow the company, its great to see that there are investors that see how underutilized this space is!
    Welcome to Kpass:

  • Ben Hall

    This is a great investment. If the majority of people are as OCD as me with organising their online life, this will be great. I think there is also opportunity in combining the platform with the functionality of both Lastpass (self) and FullContact (others).

  • I loved when it first came out, and it has so much potential. Glad to see this new funding with FG.

    I’d hope they will integrate Disqus, because that’s a (big) part of my online identity/activity.

    • @wmoug:disqus – Your on-line presence and thoughts are generally a day of ahead of me. On this one I must agree.

      Hmm – It seems Canada timezones just crawl up all the way over the top and come down ahead of European thinking somehow 🙂

  • I think the first thing to do would be to integration with OneName or a decentralized identity service thereby you can actually make the online profile that is functional and also allows for a Public Key to be published with your identity to be used by anyone to send encrypted messages to the identity. I think there is a huge opportunity to make online identities a two way communication rather than just a one way display.

  • Bunches and bunches of potential IMO — grats!

  • Identity is a pillar of our digital future and a tough nut to crack, I’m glad to see about.met getting re-invigorated and your involvement Brad. My thought is identity has to be an object or entity owned and controlled by the individual completely – bitcoin technology might have something in there I’m not aware of but sounds promising.

  • Interesting site. Weird mashup of features from different places. Haven’t quite figured out the point here yet. One question that is immediately coming to mind is define “identity”? I assumed when I read your post that you were referring to a narrow definition that was more akin to centralizing online authorization and authentication. I now see you’re referring to it as in a personal identity, as in what are the things that make me me online, a much higher level concept.

    • Yup – totally focused on personal identity, not authentication.

  • DJ

    Man, Geocities… Brings back memories.