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Stealth social networking startup CafeBots came into the light in a big way today, after the firm announced it has closed an initial funding round of $5 million from early stage venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’s brand new sFund.
Palo Alto-based CafeBots was founded by Stanford professor Yoav Shoham in an effort to create technology that gives online users tools that act on their behalf on Facebook.
Those tools will then help people interact more meaningfully with their friends online, although exactly how that will work remains under wraps for now, Shoham told VentureBeat. He did say, though, that the startup will be announcing a product by the end of the year.
The company did say it will be focused on building applications that are “useful, fun and scalable” to let people make better use of their social information and demographics.
“We are the first ones to coin the term ‘friend relationship management’ … which for us means an experience that is more fun and more meaningful, but still brings the smart algorithms,” Shoham told VentureBeat.
CafeBot may not be geared specifically for Facebook, although that platform will be its natural first stop, Shoham said.
“While working in the social space, you can’t not work specifically with Facebook, but of course we look forward to creating partnerships and very much respect all the other players out there,” he said.
The $250 million sFund was itself just announced today at a Facebook event. Billed as a way to invest in entrepreneurs inventing social applications and services, its strategic partners include Amazon, Facebook, Zynga, Comcast, Liberty Media and Allen & Company.
The sFund was created by KPCB Partner Bing Gordon in collaboration with partners Chi-Hua Chien, John Doerr, Eric Feng, Lila Ibrahim, Randy Komisar, Aileen Lee, Matt Murphy, Ellen Pao and Ted Schlein.
As part of the CafeBot’s funding deal, Gordon will sit on the firm’s board of directors.
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