Twitter co-founder Evan Williams: ‘We have a lot of money in the bank’
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Will Twitter or won’t Twitter raise another round of funding that would make it worth $3 billion?
Twitter co-founder Evan Williams did not shed any light on the subject Wednesday despite persistent onstage questioning from John Battelle at the Web 2.0 Summit.
‘We have a lot of money in the bank,’ a bemused Williams said.
Last year Twitter raised $100 million, valuing the company at $1 billion. Investors are said to be fighting over Twitter, including DST’s chairman, Russian financier Yuri Milner, who has backed an impressive trio of social media companies: Facebook, Groupon and Zynga.
Milner also spoke at the Web 2.0 Summit. Milner declined to say if he was talking to Twitter. But he said he typically is looking for social media companies with a $1-billion-plus valuation anywhere in the world.
‘That’s great company to be considered in,’ Williams said.
Interest in Twitter has increased as the company begins to generate advertising revenue. Those efforts have exceeded the company’s expectations, Williams said, but he declined to be specific.
‘There’s a million ways for us to make money,’ he said.
Williams also noted that Twitter is in talks with Facebook about ways in which the two companies could cooperate. He expressed frustration that Facebook has blocked Twitter from integrating its service in the world’s most popular social networking site. That means Facebook users can’t see which of their friends are also on Twitter.
‘We’re talking to them often to see if there is a way to work together, but so far neither side has found out a way to do that,’ Williams said. ‘We’d like our users to tap into Facebook to make their Twitter experience better. But I understand their position. They see the social graph as their core asset.’
The battle for control of the Internet was the theme of this year’s Web 2.0 Summit. Something Twitter hopes to better control: figuring out how, with 100 million tweets a day, it can deliver to its users the ones that matter most to them.
‘We have this treasure of too much information, and that’s very empowering and helps us all, but it’s clearly becoming more and more of a problem,’ Williams said.
Befitting all this interest in Twitter, he was the final speaker at Web 2.0. He seemed far more relaxed than as CEO, which he described as ‘kind of a sucky job.’ His successor, Dick Costolo, was in the audience.
‘I think his hair is falling out,’ Williams said of the good-natured Costolo, who is balding.
-- Jessica Guynn