Where it's based: Palo Alto, Calif.
When it was founded: 2010
Why it's Fierce: Flipboard is a gleaming example of the new app economy. Launched last year as an iPad app that cleanly and smoothly displays Internet content in a magazine format, Flipboard has since raised around $60 million in venture funding from the likes of Insight Venture Partners, actor Ashton Kutcher and others, expanded to around 30 employees, and is now valued at around $200 million.
Much of Flipboard's success is due to its sleek, modern and tablet-friendly design, highlighted by its introductory video. But that flipping motion is just the start of Flipboard's tricks. The app, which is currently only available for the Apple iPad tablet, aggregates the articles and Internet content that users' friends and coworkers post on Facebook and Twitter, as well as content from publishers and curators. Although the company won't disclose the number of Flipboard users, CEO Mike McCue told AllThingsD the company counts around 9 million "flips" per day--the tablet equivalent to pageviews.
And Flipboard appears poised to cash in on the work it has put into its design. The company is putting the finishing touches on a business model that will see Flipboard laying out content from publishers like The Washington Post, Time and Oprah Winfrey, and taking a cut of the revenues derived from ad sales against that content. Although the company is still tweaking its revenue share and business model, hundreds of publishers have indicated interest in the venture. Further, ads inside Flipboard's app likely will go for a much higher price than online ads due to the full-screen, magazine-style approach Flipboard leverages.
What's next: Flipboard expects to begin selling ads sometime this summer. And later this year the company expects to expand into the much wider audience of Apple's iPhone. Android support could come at some point, but the company said it would return to the Android question later this year.