some ecards

July 27, 2008

If you are a fan of The Onion and can never seem to find just the right ecard to send to friends and family, you’re going to love Someecards. The company is announcing a seed round financing today – more details below.

The company was founded by former Onion writer Brook Lundy and Duncan Mitchell, and quietly launched in April 2007. It’s fairly straightforward – they create simple ecards like the one above with Onion-style humor, and let people email them to each other. Without any launch notice, press or marketing, the site has grown virally to 1.5 million unique monthly visitors, who are pretty passionate about the site. A few recent emails that the team have received:

  • “I think you guys should come stay at my sorority house and do a presentation or something. If you guys are located anywhere near San Francisco by September, let me know and I will work for you guys for free.”
  • “your website has got me laughing out loud and getting wet at the same time. i think you should make an ecard that says: this website has got me laughing out loud and getting wet at the same time.”
  • “I really believe your site is of some sociological importance. Someecards lifts the veil of political correctness, denial and social mores.”
  • “I would just like to thank you for providing what I consider to be one of the best websites of all time. Not only do you have a card tailored to everyone I know (and wish I did not know), but my productivity at work has dropped to a mere 30% during the day which is always a plus as I am constantly looking for something new to distract me. Thank you, thank you, a million times, thank you.”
  • “I just found someecards today. My life is a better place to be. If this site closes
    down anytime in the next 50 years (before I die) I will shoot myself. Please
    let me live.”

To date, the team, which includes six part time writers, has created 1,900 cards. The most popular are here, but, really, you could spend a happy afternoon reading all of them. I’ve put three of them in this post.

The site was a part time project for the two founders, but the unexpected popularity of the service led to them to seek outside funding so they could quit their day jobs. Today they’re announcing a $350,000 seed round, led by Betaworks and notable angel investor Chris Sacca.

Apologies for this last one, but it definitely shows the edgy content on the site. Compare this to the American Greetings site dedicated to off-humor stuff, Kiwee (example), and you’ll understand why Someecards has a growing cult following.

[Posted on May 5, 2008 – 3:42 PM]
someecards_thinner.jpg
When is it time to quit your day job? If you’re Someecards Inc. co-founders Duncan Mitchell and Brook Lundy (pictured, left and right), the answer is when your Web site starts drawing 1.5 million unique visitors a month.

Last month, the pair raised a modest but significant Series A, propelling them to leave behind their careers as online ad creative directors. Now they’re looking for a first-class Web developer to help them make the rest of their dreams come true and transform their clever e-card site into a full-fledged Internet business.

Someecards, launched about a year ago when Lundy worked at Avenue A/Razorfish and Mitchell at MRM Worldwide, has quickly found a following among Facebook regulars, who use the off-beat e-cards as a medium for flirting, bantering, debating and apologizing.

In addition to users, the Manhattan startup has attracted influential Internet investors. Betaworks, the innovative New York Web 2.0 incubator recently profiled by Tech Confidential, is leading the $350,000 round.

Also participating is Chris Sacca, Google Inc.’s former wireless chief. Sacca met Lundy and Mitchell through mutual friend Nancy King, an ad exec who is currently a senior brand strategist at Naked Communications in New York and an investor in Someecards.

Mark Bailey, the founding partner of “hyper-local” site Outside.in, which is backed by Betaworks, is also an investor. It was Bailey who introduced Lundy and Mitchell to Betaworks founders John Borthwick and Andrew Weissman. Another backer of Outside.in, Hollywood producer Andrew Karsch (“The Prince of Tides”), is also supporting Someecards.

Someecards is clearly still in its infancy. The next step is “to hire a tech lead who can take the site to the next level,” Lundy tells Tech Confidential.

“We’ve got a 12-page development list of things we’ve been wanting to do for seven or eight months,” says Lundy. “It’s been frustrating the hell out of us.”

Lundy expects the initial funding to make a big dent in the to-do list. High on the priority list are integration with Facebook and the development of tools that will “maintain the voice of the brand but also allow users to create their own Someecards.”

Additional funding is also likely. “We may be raising more relatively soon,” says Lundy. “It depends on how quickly we can get momentum going in advertising and merchandising. It’s possible we would do another round in six to eight months.”

Betaworks is betting that Someecards will evolve into something far more innovative that its current incarnation.

“Brook and Duncan will make content more dynamic and more distributable,” says Weissman. “They’ll break it apart a bit and build community around that content.”

Describing Lundy and Mitchell as the “funniest guys I’ve ever met,” Weissman says, “They are twisted — in a good way, in a product way. They’re going to come up with twisted ways of doing what they’re doing.” (Photo by Lee Miller Design.) – Mary Kathleen Flynn

For more on Someecards, see April 10 post from Tech Confidential
For more on Betaworks, see May 2 profile from Tech Confidential
For more on John Borthwick, see his blog
For more on Andrew Weissman, see his blog and his tumblelog
For more on Chris Sacca, see Jan. 29 post from Tech Confidential