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Ex-Google duo open wallets of angels and Ashton Kutcher

$1.2m from 21 faces

Reducing security risks from open source software

A pair of ex-Googlers working to simplify rapid-fire testing of website design have secured some power funding from Hollywood and Silicon Valley.

Their company, Optimizely, has attracted $1.2m in cash from 21 "angel investors", including Ron Conway, Steven Chen, Mitch Kapor, Joshua Schachter, and Steve Huffman.

Conway invested in Google, Ask Jeeves, and PayPal. Chen was co-founder and chief technology officer for YouTube. Kapor's the man behind Lotus 1-2-3 and the founding chair of Firefox shop Mozilla Corp – among other achievements. And Schachter built Delicious and Huffman created Reddit.

There's also a bunch of ex-Google names in the line up: Paul Buchheit, who created Gmail and - according to his Crunchbase profile - coined the Googly phrase "don't be evil," and Chris Sacca, who headed up Google's whitespaces TV spectrum initiative.

Also having a stab at Optimizely is cougar hunter turned Twitter hound and some-time actor Ashton Kutcher.

Optimizely is Kutcher's latest tech investment, having put his cash into Flipboard and Hipmunk and joined discovery engine Chomp as an advisor. The web got its pants in a twist last year when the increasingly tech-oriented Kutcher, currently the face of Nikon cameras in its TV ads in the US, raced - and beat - CNN to get one million followers on Twitter.

Optimizely is the baby of former Google Chrome product manager Dan Siroker and Google App Engine product manager Pete Koomen. It provides a web service that lets you create and run A/B tests on a web site. They claim you can also make changes using their service's point-and-click interface, without the need to re-engineer code.

The service is geared not towards hard-core coders. It aims for more line-of-business types who need to move JavaScript or CSS bits like graphics, buttons, text, or shopping carts around a page. The idea is that you can make changes and test changes, and also measure the results by analyzing the traffic.

Siroker, Optimizely's chief executive, worked as director of analytics for US president Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. He claims to have increased online donations to Obama by more then $60m using the thinking behind Optimizely. ®

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