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Startups Find Room to Run on Crowded Social Web

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A little more than a year ago, the young co-founders of social network games maker Playdom were sitting pretty. Hit games including Mobsters had helped make their software among the most popular on MySpace. "It was very happy. Every night we would gather around the Xbox," says co-founder chief product officer Dan Yue, 26.

Nights are no longer so relaxed for the Mountain View, Calif., startup, thanks to Facebook's popularity. The Playdom entrepreneurs, three of whom are in their twenties, spent most of 2009 transferring games to the hotter site. Since joining the company last year, CEO John Pleasants, a former executive at game giant Electronic Arts, has increased head count to 400, from less than 50 a year ago. The company generated more than $50 million in 2009 sales and expects revenues to double this year.

Playdom's co-founders--Yue; co-founder Chris Wang, 26; and Ling Xiao, 28-year-old vice-president of engineering and co-founder--are among the finalists in's annual Best Young Technology Entrepreneurs showcase. Seven of the 13 startups on this year's list are building Web and mobile-device software that extend the capabilities of social networks, including Facebook and Twitter.

From BusinessWeek
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