Silicon Valley's Hottest Innovation

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This app promises to change the future of publishing by bringing print economies to the digital platform

Dawid Bilski

Danny Rimer of Index Ventures and Flipboard founder Mike McCue go back a long way. Their paths crossed when McCue founded his first company, Paper Software, which made learning about computers as easy as using a piece of paper. “He was the one who discovered me and referred me to Marc Andreessen at Netscape,” says McCue. Paper Software was eventually bought over by Netscape in 1996. When McCue informed Rimer of his decision to leave Netscape in 1999 to start another venture, Rimer wrote him a cheque of $25,000 without even asking him what his plan was all about. In 2000, McCue launched Tellme Networks, which allowed users to find information on the internet using a telephone with simple voice commands.

Eventually, Microsoft bought over the company for $800 million. But McCue left Microsoft two years later as his entrepreneurial zeal got the better of him. This time, Rimer wrote a $2.5 million cheque, again, no questions asked. “From the first time I met Mike in Woodstock, NY, in 1995, I knew I wanted to be in business with him because he’s a combination of a visionary and a do-er. He is laser-focused on building something transformational and his passion and ability to execute are second to none,” opines Danny Rimer, partner, Index Ventures. Rimer’s confidence wasn’t misplaced, as McCue’s third venture, Flipboard, promises to change the future of publishing by bringing print-level economies to the digital platform

Getting started

The seeds for Flipboard were sown in the summer of 2009, when McCue was reading a National Geographic article. He had seen the article online earlier and recalls it as being “much more beautiful in print”. Passionate about building products and teams, McCue was toying with ideas and protoyping some products. He asked his friend Pam Heart to find him an iOS engineer who could develop his products further. She helped him hook up with Evan Doll, who was already taking iOS developer classes at Stanford University and enjoyed a huge fan following, with over 2 million people downloading his classes.

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