Social App Maker RockYou Scores Funding

Social Web application maker RockYou will use $17 million in new investments to expand its Asia-Pacific presence and open three new US offices.

The Redwood City, CA company said the new investment, from Softbank and SK Telecom Ventures, brings its total funding to $67 million. The money comes five months after RockYou received an initial $35 million C Round investment led by DCM.

RockYou’s funding success might prove that, despite a dismal economy, investors are confident that some segments of the interactive advertising industry are going to grow, at least overseas. Late last month, Mobile ad network AdMob announced $15.7 million in new funding, which it will use to expand in Western Europe, India, South Africa and Japan.

RockYou is targeting an expansion into Xiaonei, which it described as China’s largest social network. The company plans to join with Softbank to create a new company to make widgets and applications for both PCs and mobile devices being used in Japan, Korea, Russia and China.

On the home front, RockYou will open new offices in New York, Los Angeles and Detroit, and it hopes to spend some of the newfound millions to buy applications to augment its existing network.

Additionally, RockYou wants to bolster the size of its internal ad sales force and create “innovative channels for brands and vertical markets to utilize the RockYou Ads network” launched by the company earlier this year. In particular, RockYou said it is eyeing the automotive, retail and entertainment verticals.

The RockYou Ads network is being used by brands including eBay Autos, Gap and Toyota to launch customized applications and interactive campaigns designed to spread virally through social networking. The company said its socialnet apps can be found on most of the big social networks including Bebo, Facebook, Friendster, hi5 and MySpace.

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