updated 07:15 pm EDT, Thu April 14, 2011
Flipboard gets cash and plans iPhone, Android
Flipboard on Thursday confirmed that it had taken a $50 million investment based on a $200 million valuation. The company received money chiefly from Insight Venture Partners as well as Comcast and a host of major and minor investors, ranging from Kleiner Perkins through to Twitter's Jack Dorsey, Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and Ashton Kutcher. The endorsement was based on enthusiasm for the concept of "social endorsement" that Flipboard's iPad app was creating, AllThingsD was told in an interview with Flipboard chief Mike McCue.
The money would be used to boost the staff count from 32 to 50 as well as branching outside of the US. Small-scale company buyouts were likely, though McCue declined to name targets.
Getting the extra financial runway would also help expand beyond the iPad for the first time, he said. The iPhone version was coming next, while a version for Android would be available "eventually." Flipboard's frequent rival Pulse is one of the few apps available optimized for Android 3.0 tablets.
The company has been one of the hottest mobile app startups and was given a major kick in publicity when Apple declared it the iPad app of the year for 2010. It started only in July last year but has already seen competition from Pulse and newcomer Zite. Rumors have surfaced just Thursday that Google and other, unnamed companies tried to buy Flipboard but were turned down after Flipboard determined that it wanted to improve its cash position and stay independent in at least the short term.
The company doesn't yet generate revenue but has negotiated deals with major publishers to optimize their sites and position the company for ads. These may come as revenue sharing deals rather than from Flipboard selling the ads itself.