Flipboard gets $50 million and Oprah in one day
Flipboard, the company behind the buzzy iPad magazine app, has once again scored a publicity bonanza. In one day, the company announced a partnership with Oprah Winfrey's media network and an infusion of $50 million.
The company's previous PR trifecta happened in December when it was awarded Apple's "App of the Year" honor, the same week it released its first major update and co-founder Mike McCue joined Twitter's board of directors.
The new venture funding round -- Flipboard's second -- puts the value of the company at $200 million. The round was led by Insight Venture Partners and joined by existing investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Index Ventures. Comcast Ventures also came on board.
Flipboard said it would use the new funding to expand to more devices (currently it's only on the iPad), to develop its advertising strategy, and to expand its workforce to 50 or 60 employees by the end of the year from 32.
Flipboard spokeswoman Marci McCue said that while there are no specific plans for the company to move to the Android platform as of now, the application will probably move to other major systems later in the year.
Another major element of Flipboard's expansion plans has to do with attracting publishing partners to the app. Partners like Oprah.
The partnership will mean new Flipboard users will see recommended sections on the app's front page -- Twitter, Facebook and now Oprah. While the first two allow users to customize the content that fills in their particular version of Flipboard's "social magazine" -- Oprah's page will essentially be a magazine filled with stories, videos and photos from Oprah.com and the other provinces of Winfrey's media empire.
Next up for Flipboard is an iPhone version, due out this summer.
-- David Sarno