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Redpoint puts out feelers for Web start-ups

The venture capital firm, which closed its first financing round this week at an eye-popping $600 million, will carve out a small slice of the proceeds to Web navigation start-up Octopus.com.

Redpoint Ventures, which closed its first financing round this week at an eye-popping $600 million, on Monday will carve out a small slice of the proceeds to Web navigation start-up Octopus.com.

In its second major investment, Redpoint will commit $10.5 million to Palo Alto-based Octopus, which is developing technology aimed at personalizing Internet searches. Other investors are contributing an additional $900,000 to complete the company's first venture round.

"The idea is to go to the next level of Web navigation in organizing information around 'me,'" Octopus co-founder and CEO Steve Douty said.

Although short on details, Douty said the company has applied for two patents on its technology, which it plans to launch sometime next year.

Geoff Yang, a partner at Redpoint and an Octopus board member, said Redpoint invested in Octopus because of its fit with the fund's investment profile.

"Octopus intrigued us because of its potential to be a foundational company for the next-generation Internet," he said.

Redpoint is a technology-focused venture capital firm formed in August by the partners of Brentwood Venture Capital and Institutional Venture Partners. Redpoint has said it plans to invest its capital in broadband infrastructure, services and media opportunities for the next-generation Internet and television markets.

Redpoint's first investment was in Reflect.com, the Web-based beauty business launched by Procter & Gamble.

In explaining the Octopus investment, Yang praised the company's management team, which includes several seasoned high-tech entrepreneurs.

Douty formerly worked at Hotmail, where he was vice president of marketing, sales and business development. Following Hotmail's acquisition by Microsoft, he was the head of MSN media programming and network productions.

Octopus co-founders Craig Jorasch and Tom McGannon previously co-founded Metropolis Software, a maker of enterprise applications for sales force automation, which was acquired by Clarify.