PayPal founder's photo slideshow site gets funding

By Eric Auchard
Wednesday, November 15, 2006; 1:12 AM

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Slide Inc., a start-up that allows Web users to publish online slideshows of photos and other digital media, said on Tuesday it had received additional funding from two top Silicon Valley venture firms.

Slide was started by Max Levchin, co-founder of PayPal, the world's most popular online payment service which was sold to online auctioneer eBay Inc. (EBAY.O) in 2002 for $1.5 billion.

Slide's new financing round was led by Mayfield Fund and includes investments from Khosla Ventures and two previous investors, BlueRun Ventures and Founders Fund. Exact terms were not disclosed, but Levchin said: "It is in the millions."

Levchin aims to make Slide the leader of a new category he describes as online storytelling through multimedia, a focus that is meant to distinguish it from many photo-sharing sites.

"When the dust settles, we should be the category definer," he said in an interview about the site,

Growing largely through word-of-mouth recommendation, Slide ranks as the sixth-most-visited U.S. photo entertainment site, according to Web measurement firm Hitwise Inc, attracting more visitors than sites such as Snapfish and Shutterfly (SFLY.O).

In terms of visitors, it is neck and neck with Yahoo Inc.'s (YHOO.O) Flickr in the category, while, a photo and video-sharing site popular among MySpace users, is No. 1.

FilmLoop, which also helps users create online slideshows, is most frequently compared to Slide. But by contrast, it ranks 86th among U.S. users in Hitwise's list of photo sites.

Levchin founded San Francisco-based Slide as a personal pastime after selling PayPal. When he received his first round of funding in 2005 from BlueRun, also Paypal's first venture backer, he began to put Slide on a business footing, he said.

Vinod Khosla, one of Silicon Valley's best-known venture capitalists, said in a statement he was betting on the track record of Levchin, "who has already proven his drive, purpose and ability when he built and grew PayPal."

Mayfield Managing Director Allen Morgan will be on Slide's board of directors and Khosla will join the board of advisers.

Levchin said the new money will help Slide grow by funding more staff, network capacity and faster product development.

The slideshows work as a link embedded in social networking Web sites like MySpace, Facebook, Friendster, Xanga and Piczo, or as a screensaver or local desktop computer application. Slide is working on making its slideshows run on cell phones.

© 2006 Reuters