Flipboard Releases Social Magazine iPad App, Buys Ellerdale

Flipboard released an app for the Apple iPad tablet that it is calling the first social magazine, and the startup also announced its acquisition of real-time Web intelligence company Ellerdale.
Flipboard was founded by former Tellme CEO Mike McCue and former Apple senior iPhone engineer Evan Doll, and it said its app incorporates users’ Facebook and Twitter feeds to create an interactive magazine made up of links, stories, photos, and updates from friends and sources. Users can browse through Flipbook’s suggested topics such as sports, news, tech, and style, or they can search by topic, person, or Twitter list, and they can also like and comment on entries. The app is available free-of-charge.
The company announced that it raised $10.5 million in a series-A venture-capital round, with investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Index Ventures, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, The Chernin Group (founded by Peter Chernin), Ron Conway, Alfred Lin, Peter Currie, Quincy Smith, and Ashton Kutcher. Flipboard currently has some 20 employees based in Palo Alto, Calif.
The company said it will incorporate Ellerdale’s advanced semantic analysis of large, real-time data streams in order to extract, categorize, and feature relevant and trending content from social networks. Ellerdale’s engineering team will join Flipboard, including Arthur van Hoff, who played a major role in the creation of Java and who will become chief technology officer. Ellerdale has indexed more than 6 billion messages from around the social Web, and it currently processes nearly 70 million daily.

CEO McCue said:

With over 1 billion posts shared every day, social networks are quickly becoming the primary way people discover and share content on the Web. The result is a huge influx of incoming messages and links people must sort through across multiple Web sites just to stay up to date. We believe the timeless principles of print can make social media less noisy, more visually compelling, and ultimately more mainstream.

Ellerdale has developed an impressive solution for understanding the ever-increasing stream of social data coming at us every day. This technology will add deep relevancy for our readers, enabling us to present social content in a way that is not only more beautiful, but also more meaningful. It’s a great combination.

van Hoff added:

Combining the two companies creates a situation in which one plus one equals three, bringing together Flipboard’s innovative front end with Ellerdale’s powerful real-time relevancy engine on the back end. Our technology will play a key role in providing readers with the content that matters most to them.

van Hoff also told GigaOM:

We’ve been building a great analytics engine, but we never had the delivery mechanism for the content sorted out. Our site was the demo, not a product, and here, we have a great product.

Kleiner Perkins partner John Doerr, who also backed Tellme, told AllThingsD:
It is at once intimate and alive and beautiful. This is the next wave of social media and redefines what magazine is, and I think it will be one of the defining apps on the iPad.

Flipboard board member Ellen Pao, also of Kleiner Perkins, told AllThingsD:

Traditional publishing is facing a crossroads, and this imagines it from the ground up. I hope it paves the way.

And Robert Scoble posted a detailed review of Flipboard on Silicon Alley Insider.

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.