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Vidacool Heats Up With First Round

Piggybacking on the popularity of 10 years of offline beach parties and movie promotions, Puerto Rico’s Vidacool scored $500,000 in seed financing for its online plug, Vidacool.com, a destination site for Latin youth.

The funding is the first tranche of a $1.5 million Series A deal, which the company expects to close within 90 days.

Seed Venture de Puerto Rico, a San Juan-based firm, provided the initial $500,000 equity commitment. When the round is complete, investors will likely include both Miami- and Latin America-based funds that target the Latin Internet space, said Anthony Keizner, Vidacool’s director of finance. He would not, however, name any specific players that were interested in Vidacool’s online mix of music, culture and gossip. To date, angels have poured $1.3 million into the online venture.

While the Spanish-language site offers chat space, music and fashion channels – a content play that seems out of style with most Internet financiers – Vidacool argues that it can sustain a viable business through online sponsorship and marketing opportunities, as well as data mining to its corporate sponsors. Budweiser and Maybelline, for example, are already sponsors of Vidacool’s extreme sports events. And with exclusive Spanish-language online marketing rights to Baywatch and The Blair Witch Project II, the company expects to cash in on a $3 million to $5 million Series B deal within the next six months.

“Vidacool.com is giving users a chance to see more Vidacool and the corporate sponsors to have another chance to work,” Keizner said.

Meanwhile, the company is exporting its mix of marketing and entertainment to Madrid and Miami, and developing SMS applications for wireless devices with the added equity.