Skype founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis were no strangers to profiting from p2p-based software which went viral, making them rich in the process. Kazaa was their first blockbuster and the death of Napster’s free music service boosted this p2p product tremendously. Their third attempt a blockbuster hit was Joost and this one didn’t work out too well. Why? Well, there are a few reasons but the end of the day the content owners have control of where their productions show up. And without a compelling reason to join the Joost family there was no real reason to use the service. That and it was slow to embrace Flash support.
It is interesting to note that Kazaa was truly exceptional in its ability to pass through firewalls and use peered computers to aid in network processing. Skype in many ways played on these strengths and applied them to telecom.
In fact for many years after Skype became popular, many VoIP companies still had problems getting their products to penetrate firewalls.
The pair have seen their share of success and now they want to help other entrepreneurs through their Atomico fund which just received $165M in funding.
The following comment by Zennström shows where his head is at:
We will seek to invest in exceptional entrepreneurs who are building exceptional businesses. We will target companies that we believe have the potential to generate significant growth, transform their industries, and deliver strong returns.
Obviously all tech VCs are looking for such ideas to fund and we should watch the results of this new fund with great interest as we can expect the companies which get funding to receive a greater share of mind because of the success of Skype as well as the numerous lawsuits the founders have been involved in. And when you are looking for the next virally spread, disruptive hit, the more media attention you get, the better.