Flipboard raises new $50M fund for expansion - reports

By MoneyTimes

Jul 29, 2015 07:21 AM EDT

Popular news-reading app Flipboard has raised $50 million from a sole investor to boost manpower and infrastructure, reports say.

TechCrunch reported that the investor is one of the biggest banks in the United States, JP Morgan. "We raised this round with JP Morgan, one of the best institutional investors in the world. They are a fantastic team to have on board," a company spokesperson told TechCrunch.

Citing a regulatory document filed in Delaware, TechCrunch reported two days earlier that Flipboard was selling $50 million worth of shares. The company wanted to sell 22.7 million shares at $2.2057 each, the document showed.  

Although there is no specific valuation for this funding round, TechCrunch said the valuation could be between $800 million and $1.32 billion.

A spokesperson for the company toldVentureBeat that the newly-raised funds would be used to "expand engineering and sales teams as well as increase investment in infrastructure to support the growing number of readers and curators on Flipboard."

Flipboard's new funding follows Apple's recent announcement that it will come out with its own news-reading app. Apple News is a new feature in iOS 9, which is expected to be released in the fall.

But Flipboard's chief executive, Mike McCue, says this is no cause for concern. In BBC Radio's Tech Tent podcast, he said, "what Apple was showing is something that we actually shipped five years ago."

There had been reports Twitter, Google, and Yahoo were interested in buying the digital news platform. So far Flipboard remains independent. But if talks with Twitter, which reportedly took place some two months ago, had prospered Flipboard would be worth $1 billion.

Flipboard, with its patented flipping gesture, enables users to curate online articles. It has apps both for desktop and mobile devices.

While other news-reading apps have struggled, Flipboard has been doing pretty well.

The digital magazine, which is based in Palo Alto, California, now has at least 70 million active users, up 75% from February.

Daily activations, it says, are anywhere between 150,000 and 200,000.

Brands such as Van Cleef & Arpels and Delta Airlines have placed ads in the app, reported VentureBeat.

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