Ning raises $15 million Series E on a $750 million valuation

White label social networking site Ning has raised $15 million Series E in a round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners on a book valuation of a neat $750 million.

Kara Swisher broke the news, reporting that Ning would use the money for further growth, although also quoted one of the VC’s saying that the round “was not a traditional fundraising effort, but more of an interest by Ning in adding a top VC to its investor pool and by Lightspeed in Ning’s hyper-growth.”

Ning has been highly successful, powering at a count late last year of over 750,000 social networks; Kara notes that Ning now claims to have 29.3 million registered users. The site is ranked 154 in Alexa and 208 according to Compete, putting it high up among the most popular sites online.

Some are questioning the valuation, but without knowing revenue it’s not a call I’d make. Instead the query is with the investment rate: $119 million over five rounds starting January 2007 is particularly high. Surely at the traffic Ning is pushing through, combined with a decent “premium” paid product offering they’d be profitable by now and the company wouldn’t need further investment. Ning is after all run by people who know how to make decent money from the beginning, unlike Facebook which has struggled for a long time.


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