Levine leads Bessemer’s investment in the for-profit community-based content site, which changes its name to Wikia from Wikicities. The funding round raises $4 million from a group of VC firms, private investors and angel funds, including Marc Andreessen. Levine joins the board. Wales doesn’t disclose where the money will be spent but says it will help the site run more smoothly:
With the nonprofit organization that is supported by donations, if the Web site is slow sometimes, that just sort of tells people that it might be time to donate money. We can’t do that with Wikia, which is ad-supported. People expect it to be strong all the time, and this will help us do exactly that.
The site’s vision:
We’re extending the Wikipedia social model into other areas. We’re building communities that are in all kinds of areas. Some things like ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Star Trek,’ and geek culture type of stuff, has been successful for us. People can come and build a Web site about anything.