Wayin, the social networking startup launched by Sun Microsystems co-founder Scott McNealy, just closed $14 million in Series B financing, bringing its total backing to $20 million. The network, which as a forum for users who want to discuss and vote on — well, just about anything– launched on Twitter last June.
U.S. Venture Partners led the round and USVP partner Rick Lewis joins the board of Denver-based Wayin. USVP joins an interesting roster of investors including enterprise software company TIBCO; Silicon Valley law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati; former head of Microsoft Business Solutions and McNealy classmate Doug Burgum; Hollywood producer Burt Sugarman; and sportscaster Jim Gray.
As McNealy told GigaOM late last year, it’s easier to raise money if you have a good rolodex. Starting Wayin “was actually a little easier probably than it should have been,” he said. Early on, the startup was able to rake in $6.3 million in investment without even tapping the VC community, McNealy said at the time.
At launch time, GigaOM’s Ryan Lawler described the service as a web site and mobile application that let users easily create and vote on polls, follow other users and share opinions. Frequent users get points for creating and voting on polls.
Clearly, social networks — especially Twitter and Facebook — are hugely influential. Companies pay good money to analyze and parse these streams of data to perform sentiment analysis, which is something McNealy has acknowledged Wayin intends to cash in on. Whether or not Wayin can become a data source on the level of Facebook or Twitter, however, is up in the air.
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