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Netscape co-founder eyes video blogs

If Marc Andressen is right again, bloggers will be lured with video on social networking site 24 Hour Laundry.

Do bloggers really work in their underwear? Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen is behind a company that may answer that question.

Marc Andressen
Marc Andressen
24 Hour Laundry (24HL) is a blogging and social networking site for consumers that will include video, according to sources familiar with the company's plans. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company--which boasts alumni from Netscape, Google and Excite--is currently looking for user interface designers, a director of engineering and other executives. While Andreessen has put money into the company and sits on the board, Gina Bianchini is the CEO, according to sources.

"We have about as much in common with laundry as Amazon does with a mythical nation of warrior women," the site says. The tag line is, "Meeting Absolutely None of Your Laundry Needs."

24HL, as in "airing your laundry," is largely funded by its founders, according to one Silicon Valley venture capitalist. The URL was registered June 14, 2004.

Since retiring from Netscape, Andreessen has lived the life of a gentleman entrepreneur. First, he launched Opsware--originally known as Loudcloud--in 1999. Unlike many companies founded that year, Opsware, which specialized in server administration tools, is still in business. Andreessen serves as its chairman.

More recently, he, along with Netscape alum Mike Homer, launched the Open Media Network, which caters to broadcasters, independent filmmakers and average people who want to distribute their films on the Internet for free. The network also exists as an advertisement for software from Kontiki, which Homer founded.

Andreessen would not comment for this report. However, a posting for Bianchini on social networking site LinkedIn states that he managed her indirectly at 24HL and met her first at another one of his projects, Harmonic Communications.

"I was an investor and board member of Harmonic Communications and I was impressed with Gina's strategic thinking, energy, focus and enthusiasm," states an endorsement, purportedly from Andreessen, on the LinkedIn page linked to Bianchini.

In the past 18 months, venture capitalists have increasingly turned their attention toward the consumer market and, in particular, making video a more integral element of the computing experience. Several companies have emerged touting video-on-demand services for delivering first-run, obscure or adult films straight to the consumer.

"Video blogging will be interesting, but the tools to make it don't exist yet," said David Hornik, a partner at August Capital. "People are spending an amazing amount of time consuming video content on the Internet."

IBM, Yahoo and Google have devised ways to tag and search video clips. Cable operators also are experimenting with tools from Gotuit Media that would let viewers search for scenes in programs.

Picking winners in these markets isn't easy. To get around this problem, some venture capitalists are trying to place somewhat smaller investments in a wider variety of companies.

CNET News.com's Paul Festa contributed to this report.