SNW INTERVIEW -- Aug 31 -- 6rounds, a Webcam-based social networking site, allows users to get together online and play games, watch YouTube videos and even browse Facebook. The site won’t officially be open to the public for another couple months, but Social Networking Watch readers can click here for a special preview of 6rounds’ video chat service. Just enter the code “6snw.”
Social Networking Watch spoke with 6rounds COO Ilan Leibovich about how the Israeli company got started, its white label solutions and what he thinks of other Webcam dating sites, like WooMe and SpeedDate. – Jenn Rubin
Why did you decide to found 6rounds?
We came up with the idea for 6rounds about 1 ½ years ago. We started out doing speed dating sessions for users. As we began developing the program and our platform, we thought about ways for people to meet while they’re waiting for the speed dating sessions. Also, if they met someone that they didn’t really like, they could still do games together, watch videos or just pass the time in the most fun way.
Can you chat with more than one 6rounds member at a time?
It is currently just one-on-one video chats, but we’re developing a wider system that will allow up to six people to talk at the same time. That is why we call it 6rounds, and because Rounds.com wasn’t available.
The site’s name also comes from the Beach Boys lyrics, “Round round, get around.”
How does 6rounds differ from other Webcam dating sites, such as WooMe and SpeedDate?
Both WooMe and SpeedDate are doing a great job. However, our platform is not just focused on dating and on speed dating. It’s also for networking, socializing and meeting friends. That’s why we like to call it a live meeting point.
Can other Web sites integrate your platform?
6rounds is built on a platform called Gixoo. It can be a full-blown, white label solution, including different designs, different features and so on.
Just in the trial stage, 6rounds has already lured members from around the world. Were you purposely pursuing an international audience?
There was a piece about us on CNN Spanish, and afterward, a lot of people from Latin America came to the site. We’ve had articles on TechCrunch and a few other blogs. Those articles had an invitation code for readers to come to the site and try out 6rounds. So, I’m guessing people are trying it currently from everywhere.
You and CEO Dany Fishel received $150,000 from friends and family in order to start 6rounds back in February 2008. Today, the company has raised $1 million in seed investments. Who are some of your backers?
We got $350,000 in October 2008 from a company called Startup Factory, which is an angel group based here in Israel. It has about 50 members, and each of them put a little cash into the company. We just recently closed a round of $1 million from a group called Rhodium, which is also in Israel, and a U.S.-based private equity fund. A few other angels, whose names probably mean more to the Israeli crowd, are Zeev Bregman, Ivan Ferrer and Uri Shinar.
How will the site make money?
The Web site is free, and we won’t charge people for using it. However, users can pay to personalize and customize the chat rooms. For instance, during a round, members can purchase certain activities and backgrounds. We’re also thinking of having advertising during the rounds, as well as sponsored games, activities, gifts and so on.
Tell me a little bit about the 6rounds team.
We currently have eight people based here in Israel. Dany and I are the only people who are not developers.
Any plans to expand into the mobile market?
Of course. We’re thinking about creating an application for the iPhone, but it is something we’re planning probably for late 2010.
Besides the official launch, what are your plans for the site in the coming year?
We’re planning Facebook and MySpace applications, as well as Firefox plugins. We want people to be able to enjoy our video experience platform from everywhere across the Web, from their favorite social networks to their favorite applications and even their personal blogs. Our ultimate goal is to offer a wide platform for sharing experiences in a live atmosphere.