IVP invests in GAIA ONLINE


Rapidly Growing Online Community Receives Investment from Institutional Venture Partners

San Jose , Calif. – July 14, 2008 – Gaia Online, the leading online hangout for teens, today announced an $11 million Series C round of venture funding from Institutional Venture Partners (IVP).  At a time when eMarketer is predicting the number of teen internet users visiting virtual worlds will jump from the reported 8.2 million users in 2007 to 20 million in 2011, Gaia Online is dedicated to bringing this growing audience rich and engaging experiences that are natural extensions of their real-life interests.

“Gaia Online is one of the most exciting companies that we have seen in the online social community space,” said Norm Fogelsong, a General Partner with Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), a premier later-stage investment firm.  “The breadth of activity available on the site and the level of engagement of the users are truly extraordinary.  It is a privilege to be involved with such a strong management team, one that is leading the way in virtual goods transactions.  We feel that Gaia Online is poised for explosive growth.”

Since its inception in 2003, Gaia Online has grown to one of the largest and most active immersive online communities for teens and young adults.  Each month more than 5 million unique users socialize, play games, watch movies in the virtual cinema and express their individuality and creativity through customizable avatars and profiles.  Gaia Online has the highest average visit time among social networking websites, according to an April 2008 report by research group Hitwise. More than 350,000 Gaians log into Gaia Online each day, many of them participating in one of the most active forums on the Web with more than 1 billion posts to date.  In June Gaia Online was named to TIME.com’s 50 Best Websites of 2008 list.

“Social networks and virtual worlds are constantly evolving as users become more involved and embedded, and at Gaia Online we are focused on bringing Gaians experiences they will not get anywhere else,” said Craig Sherman, CEO of Gaia Online.  “With this capital, we are excited to continue to deliver on this mission, while growing and developing new site elements to support the rapidly increasing interest in Gaia Online.”
Gaia Online has worked with companies such as Paramount Pictures, MTV, Nike, Skittles, Sony, Toyota, Warner Bros and Xbox, providing them with powerful and innovative branding opportunities with unparalleled reach and engagement within the teen and young adult audience. Recently the community announced the upcoming summer launch of its casual massively multiplayer online game (MMO).  The free, flash-based MMO, in development since 2007, will give experienced and new users a fun way to play, socialize, and explore. 

About Gaia Online
Founded in 2003, Gaia Online is the leading teen hangout on the web. More than five million visitors come to Gaia every month to make friends, play games, watch movies in Gaia Cinemas, Gaia’s virtual theaters, and participate in the world’s most active online community. Gaia provides a fun, social environment that inspires individuality and creativity. With everything from art contests to discussion forums on poetry, politics, celebrities and more, to fully customizable profiles, digital characters and cars, Gaia is a place where teens can create their own space and express their individual style. For more information, visit www.gaiaonline.com.

Gaia Online is a trademark of Gaia Interactive, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

About Institutional Venture Partners (IVP)
With more than $2.2 billion of committed capital, Institutional Venture Partners (IVP) is one of the premier later-stage investment firms in the United States. Founded in 1980, IVP specializes in venture growth investments, industry consolidations, recapitalizations, buyouts, and select public market transactions. During its 28-year history, IVP has invested in over 200 companies – with more than 80 IPOs. It has consistently delivered superior returns with a 27-year IRR of 43.2%. Since its inception, IVP has invested in such notable companies such as ArcSight (ARST), Ask Jeeves (IACI), Aspect Communications (ASPT), At Road (ARDI), Business.com (RHD), Chordiant (CHRD), Cirrus Logic (CRUS), Clarify (CLFY), ComScore (SCOR), Concur Technologies (CNQR), Danger (MSFT), Digital River (DRIV), Form Factor (FORM), Foundry Networks (FDRY), Juniper Networks (JNPR), LSI Logic (LSI), Mobile 365 (SY), MySQL (JAVA), Netflix (NFLX), Polycom (PLCM), Quigo (AOL), Seagate (STX), Synchronoss (SNCR), Tivo (TIVO), and Websense (WBSN). IVP has offices in Menlo Park and San Francisco, California. For more information, visit https://www.ivp.com.