eBay invests in Meetup.com

I checked my mail just now and got a message from the CEO of Meetup.com, Sott Heiferman, explaining that his company has just closed an investment round with eBay. He doesn't say how much, and stresses that they've not been acquired.

Here's the relevant part of the mail.

"Meetups are going so well that, alongside our existing investors, eBay just invested in Meetup.com! I love eBay. They use the internet to empower and connect people and make the world a better place. That's exactly what Meetup is all about! They did NOT "buy the company", they simply invested money that we'll use to run and grow Meetup.com. Our hope is this will make everyone's Meetups better. This news is something for us all to be proud of!"

It wasn't a personal mail of course, but my congratulations to Meetup.com anyway. Why do I care? I use them whenever I RSVPĀ for the Seattle Webloggers Meetup. I went to another the other night. Good fun again - met up with Anita, Jack, Tommy and was introduced to Dennis and Ram.

No official word from eBay on the deal yet.

Update, March 10 2006: BoingBoing reports that the deal looks like this: eBay bought around 10% of Meetup equity, for around $10m, making Meetup worht a guesstimated $100m. Not bad....Business Week has more analysis.