Wallop Redefines the Social Networking Experience and Unlocks the Potential of Self-Expression Online

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DEMOfall - Wallop, a company spun out of Microsoft and backed by veteran venture capital firms, today at DEMOfall launched its beta product, a breakthrough innovation in the social networking space with a unique business model. Wallop, an invitation-only network, for the first time combines a social computing site with a marketplace, enabling an entirely new way to self-express and enhance a person’s increasingly important online image. Wallop also announced today that it has secured a $10 million series B round of funding led by Norwest Venture Partners (NVP). Previous investors, Bay Partners and Consor Capital, also participated in this round.

The level of customization in current social networks is like wanting a dress but having to buy materials and use a sewing machine to make it yourself

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DEMOfall – Wallop, a company spun out of Microsoft and backed by veteran venture capital firms, today at DEMOfall launched its beta product, a breakthrough innovation in the social networking space with a unique business model. Wallop, an invitation-only network, for the first time combines a social computing site with a marketplace, enabling an entirely new way to self-express and enhance a person’s increasingly important online image. Wallop also announced today that it has secured a $10 million series B round of funding led by Norwest Venture Partners (NVP). Previous investors, Bay Partners and Consor Capital, also participated in this round.

“Now that social networking has become all the rage, we need to step back and examine whether current sites present the best images and practices for social networking,” said Mark Levitt, IDC's VP for Collaborative Computing and the Enterprise Workplace. “Wallop offers an innovative business model and user interface that is designed to attract select groups of users who will prefer to use their creative skills to express themselves on their sites without having to learn any programming and without advertising.”

More than four years of research at Microsoft combined with Wallop founders Karl Jacob and Sean Uberoi Kelly’s vision for leapfrogging existing social networks, led Wallop to focus on the larger trend of self-expression online with the simplicity people experience in the real world. Wallop created an invitation-only, social experience that taps into the $3 trillion-a-year offline industry of self-expression as it moves online. A revolutionary new user interface evolved by the legendary Frog Design brings point-and-click simplicity to social networking and makes it dramatically easier to express a user’s individuality.

“I am addicted to social networking, but like my friends, am sick of how hard everything is. I spend all my time browsing and searching and dealing with pop-ups on every page,” said Katie Starkey, a 23-year-old private beta tester from Jacksonville, Illinois. “The best thing about Wallop is that it really is easy, and I love that I’m not interrupted by annoying ads. I’m totally going to switch to Wallop!”

Wallop unlocks the true potential for self-expression online with free, one-click customization versus the hassle of HTML coding necessary to personalize other social networking platforms. In addition, Wallop’s marketplace model empowers people to further enhance their online image by purchasing ready-made, interactive graphics and features, called “Mods,” from millions of the best Adobe® Flash developers and designers. The community of Flash gurus allows members to tap into the creativity of the people who have been responsible for many of the coolest concepts seen on the Web, and easily incorporate designs into their profile to make it uniquely their own.

"The level of customization in current social networks is like wanting a dress but having to buy materials and use a sewing machine to make it yourself," said Chris Shipley, executive producer of the DEMOfall conference, where Wallop launched its product. "Wallop enables people to act online just as they do in the real world, so wanting a dress is as simple as going to the store and buying it off the rack."

Wallop has solved the problems plaguing current social networks, giving its members a secure platform to express themselves with whom they want and how they want in an environment they control. Members maintain individual control over who can see what on their profile, having the distinct ability to reveal different content to different audiences. Wallop’s invitation-only approach also helps provide a safe place for image-aware trendsetters and VIPs among its hip consumer base. Additionally, people can effortlessly share music, pictures and commentary across their networks. The “What’s new” feature and real-time conversations also allow easy access and streamlined communication in a natural, conversational way.

“After taking a long, hard look at social computing, it became clear that it is not simply about the technology, which has been limited and plagued with problems to date,” said Karl Jacob, CEO and founder of Wallop. “It’s about the trend of self-expression moving online, creating enormous demand for easy and limitless customization and an enlightened social experience where the user is in control.”

DEMO Information

Karl Jacob, CEO and founder of Wallop, Inc., will present the next-generation Wallop experience with Sean Kelly, CTO and fellow founder. Don’t miss the opportunity to get a first peek at Wallop’s cutting-edge approach to online self-expression at the DEMOfall stage on Wednesday, September 27, at 2:42 p.m.

To experience a live demonstration, visit station #37 at the DEMOfall ‘06 Conference. DEMO.com visitors will also be able to view Wallop’s live stage presentation within 24 hours by clicking on the “Watch DEMO Videos” link. For more information on Wallop, visit http://www.wallop.com.

Funding information

Wallop has recently secured a $10 million series B round of funding led by Norwest Venture Partners (NVP). Previous series A investors, Bay Partners and Consor Capital, also participated in this round. Microsoft also holds an equity stake in Wallop, as the company is a spin-out from Microsoft’s IP Ventures Program and research department. As a part of the funding event, Wallop welcomes Jeff Crowe, general partner at NVP, to its board of directors. Jeff joins existing board members, Eric Chin of Bay Partners and Karl Jacob.

About Wallop

Wallop, a spinout company from Microsoft, redefines the popular social networking space by introducing a new social experience that integrates self-expression with exclusivity, a revolutionary new business model and solutions to the problems nagging today’s social networks. Wallop started as a Microsoft research project more than four years ago. Veteran entrepreneur, Karl Jacob, had been looking for a technology that would fulfill the vision he had around leapfrogging the current state of social computing with a marketplace business model. Karl found the research project at Microsoft and recruited Sean Kelly, the inventor of Wallop, as a founder. They immediately had a huge advantage in bringing Wallop to market a little over a year later.

Wallop is founded by Karl and Sean. It is a privately-held company venture backed by Norwest Venture Partners (NVP), Bay Partners, Consor Capital and an equity stake from Microsoft.

Wallop is by invitation only. To learn more about Wallop, visit http://www.wallop.com.

© 2006 Wallop Technologies Incorporated. Wallop and the Wallop logo are registered trademarks of Wallop Technologies Incorporated. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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