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Post Google, Schmidt goes Gaga

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has found himself a somewhat unexpected bedfellow: tea-loving pop noodle Lady Gaga, as the two team up to back a new social networking startup called Backplane.

Backplane has so far has raised over $1 million in venture capital, the New York Times reports. The largest investor in the startup, which is yet to launch, is Schmidt's Tomorrow Ventures. Lady Gaga reportedly owns 20 per cent of the company.

The site was co-founded by Gaga's manager, Troy Carter, and is designed to enable online communities to be built around musicians and sports teams, integrating updates from other sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

According to the NYT, Carter came up with the idea for Backplane after attending a meeting with Steve Jobs, in which the Apple messiah explained Apple's social network, Ping - prompting Carter to decide he might be able to dream up something better.

Social networking has become a near-essential way for bands and other performers to market their work and interact with fans, but Backplane will be hoping not to suffer the same fate as once-popular social site MySpace.

At one time a must-visit destination for bands to showcase their work, MySpace's popularity has waned since it was snapped up in 2005 by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation for a cool $580 million, eclipsed by Facebook, Twitter and a host of other social networking sites.

In April this year, after shedding staff and seeing MySpace's traffic slide by 49 per cent on the previous year, News Corp announced that it was seeking bids of $100 million and upwards for the site.