Post Co. teams up on Internet investment

Wednesday, September 29, 2010; 9:51 AM

The Washington Post Co., the New York Times Co. and Gannett Inc. have invested $4 million each in a start-up firm called Ongo, which aims to launch a new Internet service for reading and sharing news and information from multiple publishers.

A news release said Ongo will launch its service by the end of the year but provided few details.

"We are building Ongo to reflect the many ways consumers prefer to read, organize and share digital news," Alex Kazim, Ongo's founder and chief executive, said in a statement.

The Post said in a statement that it is "interested in experimenting with different ways to experience digital news and information."

Kazim has held a variety of Silicon Valley jobs. He spent nine years at eBay; his jobs there included senior vice president for new ventures and a 14-month stint as president of Skype. He has also worked at Apple.

After leaving eBay, Kazim and his wife, Mary Lou Song, another former eBay executive, started Tokoni, a social media platform where consumers could "share their first-hand stories and experiences." The site also helped companies connect with consumers. But the site closed down in July.

The campaign of Republican billionaire Meg Whitman, Kazim and Song's former boss at eBay who is running for governor of California, paid almost $3.6 million in consulting fees to Tokoni, according to a report in the Sacramento Bee in March.

-- Steven Mufson

© 2010 The Washington Post Company