Springpad’s Social Notes, Data Access Bring it to 2.5M Users

Evernote isn’t the only productivity app around.

Springpad, an intelligent note-taking and information organizing service, has racked up 2.5 million users since its launch three years ago.

Founded by Spring Partners, the app has added about 500,000 users in the last two months, according to the company’s chief executive Jeff Janer. The company originally set out to build a desktop browser-based service and attracted 40,000 users by March of last year. But it really started to take off when it released its mobile apps for Android and iPhone.

Springpad was created around the notion that people have problems discovering good information that they can’t act upon right away.

The app is organized around the principles of saving, organizing and acting. The app doesn’t simply collect the text and media you save to notes. It does this by also allowing saving formatted meta-data, organizing data drawn from Facebook friends’ “likes,” and a substantial collection of data with “enhanced information” such as price comparisons, movie showtimes, product reviews and links to make OpenTable reservations. The app has access to information about 800,000 products, 700,000 recipes, 450,000 books and 300,000 restaurants. This information enables the ability to do price comparisons or notifications for price drops based on scanning a product barcode.

About three-quarters of Springpad’s users access it from a mobile device, with 50 to 60 percent using more than one device (usually a phone and a desktop computer) over the course of a month. The typical person uses Springpad for a few minutes via a mobile device and an average of more than 30 minutes from a desktop web browser.

One of the things Springpad has not actively publicized is its API for developers. There are third-party developers have started to build products that interoperate with Springpad, however. ExpensePad (Expenses for Springpad) for iPhone, for example, is a $1.99 app that lets the app user track expenses stored in a Springpad notebook. Third-party developers can do more than store and retrieve data in Springpad notebooks. They also have access to the large store of Springpad data for products, receipts, books, restaurants and more.

Janer noted that Springpad users have told them that they want to expand the scope of available information from a personally curated set to one based on trusted social circles. We saw some of this when Springpad added its ability to create specialized notebooks based on Facebook friends’ Likes. We can expect to see more of this social curation of notes going into next year.

Springpad’s revenue model is based on a unique advertising method that keeps the notes themselves ad-free. When users search for products, movies and other goods, there are advertisements. So Springpad users only sees ads that are directly relevant to what they’re looking for.

The 15-person company is based in Charlestown, Massachusetts and raised $4 million from Fairhaven Capital in June 2008. The company might seek a second round of funding early next year.