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Wikio, a European social bookmarking site, has received almost £2.7 million in a Series A round of funding led by Lightspeed venture Partners and Gemini Israel Funds.
Wikio originally launched in France and Italy in June 2006, and claims to have had almost a million unique visitors per month since then. The company has since launched its site in Germany, Spain and the US, with a UK version planned for this year.
As with Digg, Wikio allows its users to add and rate stories, though an editorial team also submits and rates stories, and the rankings are a balance between the two. Though whether Digg has moderators or not is another matter...
Wikio founder Pierre Chappaz believes that Europe needs its own version of Digg:
“Europe is very different than the U.S. In the U.S., you have a large diversity of information services but in Europe, we only have Google News and to a certain extent, Yahoo News.”
Wikio claims to cover more news sources than Google News, and information is defined by categories and a series of tags. It has also integrated some nifty Web 2.0 features which allow the user to improve the relevancy of their search results and personalise their home page.
Language issues may prevent Wikio becoming a truly pan-European service – you can search each country for news, but you can’t search for activity across the sites. Also, Wikio has a different algorithm for ranking each country’s news sources.
Wikio intends to use this funding round to finance the company’s global expansion, which will include a UK version of the site, and further European versions.
The company was founded by two French entrepreneurs. Laurent Binard, who had previously founded the content management company Mediapps, and Pierre Chappaz, who also founded the Kelkoo search engine, which was sold to Yahoo for $475 million (£240m) in 2004.
Are social news sites like Digg 'better' than Google News?