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Wanelo founder Deena Varshavskaya found real estate through First Round's private digital network

The firm says its private social platform works because its portfolio CEOs have met before.

First Round Capital

To compete with bigger venture firms, First Round built a platform for its portfolio companies.; @firstround

Philadelphia-based venture firm First Round Capital is a pretty small outfit: It has seven investment professionals and 24 other employees in various support roles. But when it comes to deploying social-networking tools, First Round punches above its weight.

Over the past two years the firm, which specializes in early-stage bets, has built a private digital network for its portfolio companies -- think Yelp meets Quora with a dash of LinkedIn -- that has become the go-to resource for time-starved entrepreneurs seeking advice on everything from debt funding to figuring out how much to pay a senior software engineer.

The tool isn't just for founders; the private site is also a forum for the marketers, engineers, and salespeople who work for First Round-backed companies. The social platform helps differentiate First Round from its rivals. It also gives the financiers direct insight into the power of social software. --Jessi Hempel

- Last updated August 29 2013 07:15 AM ET
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