Flock draws $15 million for social browsing

The deal shows continued faith in the alternative market for Web browsers, beyond the dominant Internet Explorer.

Flock, a Firefox-based Web browser that plays up social networking online, has raised $15 million in a fourth round of funding led by Fidelity Ventures. The company's previous investors, Bessemer Venture Partners, Catamount Ventures, and Shasta Ventures, also participated in the round.

The deal shows continued faith in the alternative market for Web browsers, beyond the dominant Internet Explorer. Alternative-browser rival Maxthon, for example, has been downloaded more than 140 million times; and it's one of the most popular browsers in China. The Beijing-based company has pulled in investments from Charles River Ventures and Google.

Flock, which was built on Firefox code, caters to people who want to stay on top of services like Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, and Flickr with features that make it easier to broadcast messages to your network. The Redwood City, Calif.-based Flock did not say how many downloads it has to date, but the company said its user base has risen more than 250 percent since January.

The company plans to use the funds to expand its research and development, marketing, and global expansion efforts. To date, the company has raised an estimated $30 million.

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