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Startup Of The Week: HiveLive Puts Buzz In Enterprise Social Networks

New social networking platform for business is based on the concept of user-configurable building blocks.

Businesses are still in the early stages of adapting social networking to their constituencies of employees, customers, and partners. HiveLive recently introduced a community platform for companies that lets users manage their own privacy settings, create new groups, and collaborate. Call center service provider Alpine Access is a new customer. ----John Foley


HEADQUARTERS: Boulder, Colo.

PRODUCTS: LiveConnect, social networking software as a service

PRINCIPALS: John Kembel, co-founder, CEO; Geoff Kembel, co-founder, application architect

INVESTORS: Croghan Investments, Crawley Hatfield Capital, KNA Investments, WB Investors

EARLY CUSTOMERS: Alpine Access, Rally Software

Social network: Geoff, John, and Jeremy Kembel

Social network: Geoff, John, and Jeremy Kembel

The social networking space is getting crowded. Contact Networks, IBM, Leverage Software, Microsoft, and SelectMinds are just some of the vendors offering products. HiveLive's distinguishing feature is the "hive," a user-configurable building block for networking with people and sharing information. Hives can incorporate forums, polls, blogs, wikis, and more.

Administrators can define member roles, choose hive templates, create and manage custom pages, and oversee invitations to the community. Members are able to manage their own networks of friends and other groups, determine who sees what in their profiles, and mark posts and other items as being favorites. Users can post content and comments, vote on what others have posted, and flag inappropriate content. Groups can be open and viewable to all members or limited in participation.

Other apps can be integrated with a HiveLive community through the vendor's API. Updated content can be delivered via RSS feed or e-mail notification. Users are able to build and share apps within HiveLive.

With degrees in engineering and design from Stanford University and an MS in human-computer interaction from Carnegie Mellon University, CEO John Kembel talks of "weaving people and information together in elegant and meaningful ways." He previously co-founded DoDots, an Internet application company that folded in 2001. Brother Geoff has a degree in mechanical engineering with an emphasis in design from Stanford. Jeremy, another brother, is director of product engineering.

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