The co-founder of social network Bebo has reinvested in the business and will take on a new strategic development role, according to the company.
Launched in 2005 by Michael Birch and wife Xochi, the social networking site was later sold to AOL in 2008 for $850m at the height of its popularity. However, much of Bebo’s original following was lost to Facebook, and AOL sold the company earlier this year for less than $10m to Criterion Capital Partners.
Birch has now reinvested, taking back a piece of ownership in the company. Bebo says that in his new role as strategic adviser Birch will provide his expertise and eye for innovation while working with chief executive Adam Levin and newly hired chief product officer Kevin Bachus, one of the four co-creators of Xbox and Akash Garg, co-founder of Hi-5.
Birch said: "I'm super excited to be involved with Bebo again. The world of social networking has changed significantly since we started Bebo, and even more so since we sold it.
"There is a huge opportunity to re-invent Bebo, to approach social from a different perspective and create a viable alternative to the now established market leaders.”
Since selling Bebo to AOL in 2008, Birch has remained an active leader in the tech community, with a portfolio of investments in the consumer internet space. Most recently, Birch launched a social network for the politically inclined, currently only available in Ireland, called Jolitics.com. He also played a major role in the launch of mycharitywater.org.
Bebo has 117 million registered users across the globe, including in the US, the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and other countries throughout Europe and the world. However, fewer than 12 million are active – something which Birch says he plans to change.
© Crimson Business Ltd. 2010