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Net photo site getting $7.5 million in start-up cash

Project Skytalk, an Internet photography start-up, is announcing $7.5 million in initial funding next week.

Project Skytalk, an Internet photography start-up, will announce $7.5 million in initial funding next week, CNET News.com has learned.

The company, a so-called second-generation Internet start-up featuring executives from Excite@Home and Cisco Systems, will announce an investment from Mayfield Fund. As previously reported, CMGI's @Ventures also is an investor.

Currently code-named "Project Skytalk," the company is expected to announce its permanent name shortly and a more specific business model early next year, according to investors.

"The company is focused on creating a revolution in the way we think about photography," said Brad Garlinghouse, a general partner with @Ventures. "We're going to turn a whole industry on its head. It's not going to just be a niche, but the whole shooting match."

Project Skytalk will focus on the consumer photography market initially, but may later branch into the business side of the photographic industry, Garlinghouse added. The company, citing studies, believes the worldwide consumer photography industry is an $80 billion market which has been largely untapped by the Internet.

Skytalk also will announce that Charles Moldow, an executive at Excite@Home; William Sahlman, a Harvard business professor; and PlanetRx.com sales executive Stephanie Tilenius also have invested in the company.

@Ventures' holdings include stakes in Lycos, Critical Path and Raging Bull. Mayfield has invested in BroadVision, DoughNet and Motley Fool, among others.