Business: Napster Founders Launch New Start-Up

New social networking site will 'smash people together' via webcam

New social networking site will ‘smash people together’ via webcam

The two founders of the original peer-to-peer music sharing service Napster are teaming up again for a new venture called Airtime.

The Napster founders, Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker, have already raised $8 million to get their service started.

The investors already onboard include celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher and of the Black Eyed Peas.


The duo have yet to release the plans for their new service in great detail, but it is reported to be a random video-chatting service that will bring people together with a social networking aspect.

Speculations are that it will be Chatroulette meets Facebook, as Sean Parker said that Airtime is meant to capitalise on the innovations in social media over the last 10 years.

Parker also said that the social networks that users create on sites such as Facebook are “rigid and constraining,” and that Airtime would be much more freeform.

‘Smashing people together’

This less rigid network will rely much on the random element of Airtime. It will focus on people’s interests, then allowing them to meet people that they do not know but may very well grow to like.

Shawn Fanning said that Airtime will be “a universal host.” He says that his future social networking site will be a service that focuses on introducing people, or as he calls it, “smashing them together.”

As with Chatroulette, site users will be interacting via webcam, which may be the element that makes or breaks Airtime. While profile pictures and status updates are easy to control, video interaction still holds a stigma among many users.

Besides Airtime, both Fanning and Parker have been involved in tech-industry start-ups since their Napster days. Parker has backed successful firms such as Plaxo and Facebook.


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