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Facebook Apps Vendor Slide Gets $50M in Funding

SAN FRANCISCO -- Social network software maker Slide Inc said on Friday it had closed a $50 million institutional financing round, marking the rising valuations of start-ups riding fast-growing Facebook's wave of popularity.

Slide, a 65-employee company founded by Max Levchin, 32, the Ukrainian-born co-founder of online payments company PayPal, is the creator of several of the most popular software programs running on Facebook and News Corp's MySpace. Its Facebook programs include Top Friends, FunWall and SuperPoke!

In an interview, Levchin declined to name the institutional investors. But sources close to the financing deal said the investors were Fidelity Investments and T Rowe Price.

Levchin said the new cash will be used to boost the size of the San Francisco-based company to about 100 employees and expand the applications it offers on the upgraded MySpace platform. Acquisitions of other so-called social software developers will be a low priority, he said.

Slide started in 2005, originally self-funded by Levchin and backed by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. PayPal went public and then was quickly acquired by eBay Inc in 2002.

Subsequent funding was provided by leading Silicon Valley venture capitalists Mayfield Fund, BlueRun Ventures, the former Nokia venture arm, Khosla Ventures and Founders Fund, Thiel's venture fund.

These earlier rounds of funding totaled in the "low tens of millions of dollars," one of the sources said.



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