Interview – Kindo

If you wanted to pick a company that reflects the multi-cultural nature and buzz of the Web 2.0 scene here in London, then Kindo might just be your first choice.
Kindo’s site …

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21st February 2008 at 6:24 am

If you wanted to pick a company that reflects the multi-cultural nature and buzz of the Web 2.0 scene here in London, then Kindo might just be your first choice.

Kindo’s site allows you to build an online family tree and keep in touch with your own flesh and blood near or far, much like its US competitor Geni.com.  A Facebook for families.

Founded early in 2007 the business has attracted talent from all over Europe and beyond including Italy, France, Spain, Latvia, Germany, Sweden and South Africa.  Appropriate perhaps for a site that has international ambitions and is already translated into 12 languages.

 kindo

This cross-border reach gives Kindo the kind of scalability that must have attracted original seed investors, Saul and Robin Klein (The Accelerator Group) and Stefan Glänzer former investor and chairman of last.fm.  And earlier this month further, undisclosed seed funding was secured from Estonian-based Ambient Sound Investments (ASI), founding engineers in Skype.

nilshammar The Skype connection is an interesting one and finds its genealogical roots with Kindo co-founder Nils Hammar who I interviewed a few weeks ago.

Nils was one of the first 10-20 Skype employees and clearly learned a lot along the way from marketing, to business development to project management.  He admits he was never a geek and subsequently it’s been the entrepreneurial possibility that’s been the big attraction.

Skype was my way in, but since then it’s the opportunities in the technology space that have excited me most.  Small set up costs and global reach are very inspiring for an entrepreneur.

Indeed, big markets are exciting.  But how to make money from them – the perennial question for many an internet business.

Some have argued that Kindo may simply be too new and too far behind the other social networks to reach a scale that will make it viable.  Indeed Nils suggests that while the multi-language element of Kindo helps create reach, it’s also like ‘dragging a big heavy anchor behind you in terms of development speed’.

Nevertheless, he’s convinced that:

If you have a good, specified and interesting audience, with a strong user-base there will be many opportunities to monetise – to offer event-based social advertising, for example.

To that extent Kindo’s more tightly focused user-base may prove an advantage over the thronging multitudes of the massive social networks.  A way to offer people advice, opportunities or products when their mind is in a very specific place – family focused.  There may even be some value in aggregated behavioural data associated with family interactions online.

The site could also have another advantage: built in protection from the faddish movement of the social network herds.  Building your family tree and creating a repository of memories for your kith and kin, may create some cross-generational glue to keep people coming back.

Kindo clearly has the talent and the backing.  It’s an interesting idea that keys into the growing popularity of ancestry and increasing numbers of older internet users.

Its business success, however, may rest on how widely it’s adopted by the women in families.  Kindo must hope and prey these matriarchs adopt its service, not only because they so often galvanise families, but also because they frequently control the purse strings.

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Alex is the founder and editor of SmallBizPod, the UK's first podcast dedicated to small business, start-ups and entrepreneurship. Alex writes about topical small business issues, entrepreneurs and anything else that catches his eye here on the small business blog. http://www.smallbizpod.co.uk

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  1. […] Hammar one of the founders of recently sold Kindo, described developing a multi-language site as like “dragging a big heavy anchor behind […]

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