Facebook Browser RockMelt Gets $30M Cash Infusion

Fresh off an update earlier this month, Facebook-centric Web browser RockMelt updated its finances, as well, receiving $30 million in venture capital.

Existing investors Andreessen Horowitz,First Round Capital’s Josh Kopelman, Intuit chairman and Apple board member Bill Campbell, and angel investor Ron Conway were joined by new investors Accel Partners and Khosla Ventures.

As part of the transaction, Accel’s Jim Breyer and Khosla’s Vinod Khosla have joined RockMelt’s board of directors.

The browser maker said the funds will be used to add staff, develop new products, and back marketing and partnership opportunities.

RockMelt has been downloaded more than one million times and claims “several hundred thousand” active users.

Vishria said in the press release announcing the financing:

Reinventing the browser is an extremely ambitious endeavor, and we knew from the beginning that we’d need the sharpest minds working with us. There are so few people who have founded or funded multiple industry-changing, billion-dollar companies. Marc Andreessen, Jim Breyer, and Vinod Khosla are three such people. We are humbled and thrilled to be working with such an incredible group.

Breyer added:

The Web has changed dramatically over the past several years. It’s about people, not pages. Your browser should reflect that fundamental change. RockMelt is building the browser for the next generation, and I couldn’t be more excited about working with Eric, Tim, and the rest of the RockMelt team to help deliver on that vision.

And Khosla said:

I love working with companies like RockMelt that are attempting to upend an existing category. When you consider that more than 2 billion people spend hours a day in their browser, it is clear that there is an enormous opportunity to challenge conventional assumptions around what a browser is and does.

RockMelt has previously garnered $1.68 million of seed funding in February 2009 and $8.2 million of venture capital in September 2009.

TechCrunch speculated that the latest financing round was prompted by Facebook’s interest in the browser and the possibility that the social network may acquire RockMelt somewhere down the line.

GigaOM pointed to the fact that RockMelt does not generate any revenue, but co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Eric Vishria told the blog:

We are entirely focused on building a great product and on distribution right now. Over time, we’ll make money through search, just like other browsers. And as we build in commerce and gaming features, that will bring in revenue, as well. We’ve been clear from the beginning that we’re here to build a big company. You can look at any company at any stage, and you won’t see a board like this. I don’t feel it as pressure; I feel it as opportunity.

Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Marc Andreessen told AllThingsD:

When we created the browser 15 to 20 years ago, we had no idea what the killer apps would be. I think search continues to be very important. Google had 1 billion uniques last month. But social is next.

Have you tried using the latest version of RockMelt or any of the prior incarnations — if so, what do you think of the application?

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