Internet startup LiveWorld Productions Inc., the brainchild of former Apple Computer Co. executives John Sculley and Joseph Graziano, has gained $9 million in venture capital funding from investors including the New York Life Insurance Co., LiveWorld officials said today.
LiveWorld, producer of the Talk City Internet chat service (www.talkcity.com/), recently released a Java-based chat client, dubbed EZTalk, and has partnered with other Internet companies to produce co-branded online content. The first joint production is the company's Jam!Z children's site, being developed along with search engine maker Yahoo Inc.
Among the other investors contributing to the current round of funding are Quantum Industrial Partners LDC, a member of the Quantum group of funds managed by George Soros, Patricof & Co. Ventures and Softbank Ventures Inc., a unit of Softbank Corp., owner of PC Week and PC Week Online publisher Ziff-Davis Publishing Co.
The principal investors in LiveWorld were former Apple CEO Sculley, onetime Apple and Sun Microsystems Chief Financial Officer Graziano.
LiveWorld's interactive communities provide an opportunity for sharply focused marketing and advertising to targeted audiences, Sculley said in a statement.
"Community and chat promise to be one of the strongest categories on the Internet moving forward, truly distinguishing it as a new media form," he said.
LiveWorld is based in Saratoga, Calif.