Grouper expands offering, nabs venture money

grouper.gifWe haven’t had the chance to tinker with Mill Valley’s Grouper yet, but it wants to let you share everything. Share email, share IM, share music, share video — and, of course, your friends. It even offers “glogs,” or group blogs. The company’s name, Grouper, says it all.

Just expanded its offering March 21 (see release in extended entry) and apparently it has just raised about $2.5 million in a second round of financing, led by Duff, Ackerman & Goodrich, after getting $1 million last year. Will be interesting to see if they can emerge from the swamp of other start-ups and offerings in the file-sharing space.

GROUPER UNVEILS NEW APPLICATION ADDING BLOG FEATURES TO PRIVATE NETWORKS

The Grouper Private Media Network incorporates best parts of file sharing, social networking and communications; giving you the tools to socialize your media

Company to unveil the product at PC FORUM 2005

PHOENIX, AZ and MILL VALLEY, CA March 21, 2005 � Grouper, the leading family and friends sharing network, today announced a new version of its popular software aimed at filtering personal media in a social on-line environment. The Grouper Private Media Network is the first application to combine recommendations and instant consumption in one easy-to-use application. The software allows people to use family and friends both as trusted sources and trusted audiences, enabling them to act as content aggregators and filters. It also includes sharing tools, social networking features and communication applications with personal recommendations. Two of the new features are Glogs � private group rich-media logs enabling discussion of files posted for streaming and sharing; and Lists � search and browse functionality that makes it easy for private group members to discover the most compelling shared material. .

�The new Grouper release is based on the common belief that people turn to their friends for recommendations before trying something new,� said Josh Felser, CEO, Grouper Networks. �Grouper is making it even easier for people to sift through the thousands of files on their friends� computers, discover new media and enrich their relationships all in one application.�

Grouper Private Media Network

Grouper has combined file sharing, social networking, and communication tools such as email and IM in one application. Grouper was the first private, family and friends-only sharing network to make streaming music, videos and photos more fun and mainstream. Grouper doesn�t limit the size or quantity of files you can share. With 256-bit encryption, users can create secure communities of friends. The new features of the Grouper Private Media Network include:

– Glogs: Private, rich media logs enable multiple people in one group to post their ideas and thoughts alongside music, photos, videos and other shared files to a friends-only audience. The �Glog This� feature allows members to easily comment on any shared files in the Glog. There are no limits on file type or size.

– Group and Member Lists: Dynamic lists showcase select files being shared by a member or within a group. Members can highlight their favorite files and show them off to their groups. The software will also surface newly shared files, the most popular files among members and groups and files with descriptions by members.

– Group Directory: The new Directory and search engine helps users with similar interests make new friends. Users can make their groups open to new people by listing them in the directory. They can browse by category or search by key word to connect with likeminded Grouper members. The Directory was born out of a desire to help people explore narrower interests outside of their current friends� repertoires.

– Grouper Makeover: Grouper has enhanced its user interface to leverage the new features. New tabs, dynamic tool bars, and an easy-to-find search box, to search your friends� desktops make the application easily navigated.

Available today at www.grouper.com, the Grouper Private Media Network is a free, private, secure application where friends can share music, videos, photos and more. The Grouper Private Media Network leverages proprietary peer-to-peer technology and turns each PC into a personal media server.

PC Forum

Grouper has been selected to present at Esther Dyson and Release 1.0�s PC Forum 2005 in Scottsdale, AZ. The company will be unveiling the Grouper Private Media Network at the conference on Monday, March 21st, at 3:00 pm PT. Grouper Networks was one of eleven companies chosen to present at the conference.

About Grouper Networks

Grouper enables legal, personal media sharing and communications in private networks of friends and family. A downloadable application, Grouper, makes it easy and fun for people who know each other to form private groups and stream music, exchange photos, video clips and documents. Grouper leverages proprietary peer-to-peer technology and 256-bit encryption to allow private groups to connect directly and securely. Grouper Networks is based in Mill Valley, CA. For more information visit www.grouper.com