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SocialShield, a service designed to help parents keep their kids safe while using online social networks, announced today that it has received $10 million in a first round of institutional financing from a conglomeration of sources including U.S. Venture Partners, Venrock and a group of angel investors.
The San Bruno company, which was founded in September 2009 by Noah Kindler and Arad Rostampour, searches through more than 50 databases to determine whether a child is engaging in harmful activity such a cyberbullying, comments that pertain to drug use or other out-of-bounds activities, or has accepted a friend request from someone suspicious.
The company initially raised $2 million in seed money in the fall of 2009. SocialShield told VentureBeat in August that it would use this fall season to focus on making its name known in the larger market, a push that has clearly netted it enough high-profile exposure to start another round of financing.
“Since launching this summer, we’ve proven the technology works. SocialShield has identified suspicious friends, including a sex offender who had connected with a child on a social network, as well as helping one family with a suicidal teen after keywords were flagged in the child’s stream,” Rostampour told VentureBeat Tuesday. “This new funding allows us to build out our technology even more and to market extensively so that we can help more and more families and kids.”
A cloud-based service, SocialShield has no software to download or install, and thus beams wherever Facebook, MySpace or other social networks are being used, including cell phones. It also allows the child being monitored to participate in the process, sending them an invite email first to ask for access to their networks.
The company said that after a free trial, the service costs between $5 and $10 per month for an entire family and a 20 percent discount for anyone who signed up for a full year.
The angel investors that have been named are well-known Silicon Valley players Adify chief executive officer Russell Fradin and Adify co-founder Larry Braitman, Offerpal CEO George Garrick, former Gaia Online CEO Craig Sherman, Playdom co-founder Rick Thompson and and comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. SocialShield’s seed round came from the same group of investors previously.
Fradin, Garrick and Sherman all currently sit on the firm’s board of directors.
Another provider of online monitoring tool for parents, Media Chaperone, also made news today with the announcement of its Piggyback application for monitoring kids’ activities in Facebook games.