Napster founders return with Airtime start-up Skip to main content

Napster founders return with Airtime start-up

Close-up of webcam Airtime will "smash" people together so they can chat via webcam

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The two founders of the original Napster music-sharing service are teaming up for another start-up.

Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker have teamed up again to raise money to get a venture called Airtime off the ground.

The pair first got to know each other while creating and running peer-to-peer music pioneer Napster.

Details are scant but Airtime is reported to be a random video-chatting service akin to Chatroulette but that has a social network attached.

The pair have raised $8m (£5m) to get the service started. Investors include movie star Ashton Kutcher, Justin Bieber's agent Scott Braun and musician will.i.am. Airtime is expected to launch by the end of 2011.

Speaking to the TechCrunch news site, Mr Parker said Airtime was being built to capitalise on what has happened in the past 10 years in social networks and media.

Airtime would try to help people escape the "rigid and constraining" structure of the social networks they create on sites such as Facebook.

This is thought to be a reference to the random element of Airtime which is expected to draw on people's interests to introduce them to others who share the same passions but that they do not yet know.

Mr Fanning said the service should be "a universal host, that is introducing people, smashing people together".

As with Chatroulette, users are expected to interact via webcam.

Since their involvement in Napster ended, both Mr Fanning and Mr Parker have been involved in a series of hi-tech start ups. So far, Mr Parker has enjoyed the greater success by backing firms such as Plaxo and Facebook.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15239109

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