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Radar Networks takes $13 million, readies Twine for the public

With series B funding in place, company prepares public beta of app that organizes people, places, companies, Web pages, and other concepts into "semantic graph."

Radar Networks is prepping for a March public beta of Twine, a Web application that organizes information into a "semantic graph," connecting people, places, companies, products, Web pages, videos, and photos, and turning it into Semantic Web content.

Nova Spivack Radar Networks

In addition, the company raised $13 million in Series B funding from Velocity Interactive, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Vulcan Capital. The new capital will go toward building out the back-end infrastructure, which can be substantial as Semantic Web applications process and store large amounts of data, as well as adding staff as the business scales up, says Radar Networks founder Nova Spivack said. The company raised $5 million in Series A funding in April of 2006 from Vulcan Capital, Leapfrog, and angel investor Ron Conway.

Twine has been in private beta with a few hundred users since November 2007. "We have 30,000 users on a wait list, and we will let them in 1,000 at a time in our first week in the market," Spivack said. "The next phase will give us tons of feedback, and we will continue to fix things and add new features, but a lot of it is there already and you can get a feel for where it is headed."

"Twine is a new service for knowledge networking, sharing, organizing and in finding information from people you trust," Spivack explained when the application was first introduced in October 2007. "Unlike a social network that is about who you know, Twine is more about what you know."

He also describes Twine as "Web 2.0 with a brain," and as a milestone in making the Semantic Web useful to end users. (See my earlier post on Twine.)

Twine is similar in concept to Facebook and other services that aggregate relevant feeds and notifications. Twine categorizes people, places, organizations, and other concepts. Radar Networks

Twine will be ad-supported, with limits on storage and the number of advanced features for the free version. A subscription-based, premium-content service is also planned.

Twine isn't the first application to apply Semantic Web principles, extracting meaning, and classifying and relating data with or without using Semantic Web standards such as RDF, OWL and SPARQL (the query language for RDF).

AdaptiveBlue's BlueOrganizer, for example, knows about thinks like music, books, wine and travel destinations, but doesn't use RDF or other Semantic Web standards. Metaweb Technologies' Freebase is a like an open public almanac that includes structured information on topics such as movies, music, people and locations.<>/p>

See also Paul Miller's ZDNet take on Radar Networks' news.