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3D social networking company gets $15m backing

Seoul-based Nurien Software has received an investment from a syndicate of four venture capital firms to launch a unique social networking platform in Korea, China and the US.

A syndicate of venture capital firms comprising of Northern Light Venture Capital, Globespan Capital Partners, New Enterprise Associates and Qiming Venture Partners has invested $15 million (€9.4 million) in Nurien Software, a South Korean developer of social networking and online gaming services.

Northern Light Venture Capital and Qiming Venture Partners are China-focussed venture capital firms, while New Enterprise Associates makes investments in India, China and the US. Globespan Capital Partners is a Japan and US-based firm focussed on venture capital investments in the two countries.

Nurien Software has built a networking platform which allows users to create avatars, virtual 3D space and content of their own. Users can also play online games with others or engage in various social applications such as an online dance game, an online quiz game and a fashion show application.

The company will use the funds to accelerate the launch of its social networking platform. The company plans to launch a beta version of its service in South Korea this month and will be following it up with offerings in South Korea and China by the end of the year. Subsequently, the company plans to launch its social networking service in the US by early 2009.

Patrick Chung, a partner at New Enterprise Associates, said in a statement that Nurien “has fundamentally changed the way online presence is understood” in the three years since it began building its platform.

Nurien is an example “of emerging, innovative companies coming from Asia that are taking their technologies to the global marketplace,” said Eugene Yoo, vice president of Globespan.

The company was established in 2005.