Kieran O’Neill receives £1.3m backing for Playfire

Social network for gamers backed by Brent Hoberman and Michael Birch


Web entrepreneur Kieran O’Neill has secured £1.3m in funding for Playfire, a social network for gamers, from a group of backers including Bebo founder Michael Birch, Niklas Zennstrom, who set up Skype, and Lastminute.com’s Brent Hoberman.

Playfire tracks scores and rankings on the Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation3 and tells users what their friends are playing.

O’ Neill said: “I’m really excited to be working with such accomplished people. It’s not every day you get the advice and experience of people who’ve been there and done it themselves helping you building your company.

“We’re going to use the funds to expand the development team and accelerate the growth of the site.”

Playfire is O’Neill’s third business. He sold holylemon.com, a video sharing site he built at the age of 15, for $1.25m, and then co-founded PSU.com, the largest PlayStation community in the world, before setting up his latest venture with Ben Phillips and Seb Hayes.

The company has 250,000 members. O’Neill hopes to compete with established rivals such as GameSpot, which was bought last year by CBS, and IGN, which is now part of News Corporation.

O’Neill, a 2009 Young Gun, hopes that lead generation of game sales and targeted advertising will generate millions in revenue in the next few years.

© Crimson Business Ltd. 2009

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