Exclusive: 4chan founder Christopher Poole (a.k.a. moot) is announcing a round of funding today for his new startup, Canvas. Union Square Ventures’ Fred Wilson has led a $3 million series A round of funding, with all of the company’s previous angel investors participating, including SV Angel, Lerer Ventures (who led Canvas’ seed round), Andreessen Horowitz, Founder Collective, and Joshua Schachter. Canvas had previously raised $625,000 in seed financing.
Canvas is a place for people to post media (i.e. images, video) and start a discussion. Canvas, which launched in beta in January and is still invite-only, is similar to 4chan in some ways, except that content is archived, and people create accounts. Users can still stay anonymous, with communities and interactions built around sharing and photoshopping images.
One of the more killer features that Canvas offers, according to Poole, is the ability to remix images. The image editor on the site lets users do simple photo and image editing in the browser, which is awesome for meme propagation. Canvas has also recently added basic oEmbed support for a few sites, and will continue to add support for other sites over time.
Poole has said that he built Canvas into a separate venture-backed company as opposed to porting over the existing 4chan users onto the new platform because he believes the Canvas can be its own sustainable community. He says that while the Canvas and 4chan communities will eventually overlap, he doesn’t want to force the communities to interact.
Poole tells us that while the company is still in private beta (the site will be released to the public in a few months), he’s impressed with the growth and engagement of the community since January (he declined to reveal specific engagement numbers). Apparently, demand to get in is so high, that Poole has had to throttle back the number of people he is letting in even on a private basis. One of the reasons Poole has restricted the number of users on the site is because he wants a small, core group to define the norms and early usage patterns of the site.
The startup currently has five employees (including Poole) working on Canvas out of its Manhattan offices, including lead developer Timothy Fitz; senior software developer Michael Rooney; designer and frontend engineer Dave Mauro; and office manager Eunsan Huh. FYI, Moot actually went to California to recruit his team and brought them to New York. And the company is hiring, in case you are interested.
The new funding will be used to grow the team and scale the product, says Poole. He adds that he’ll also “keep an eye out for opportunistic investments,” for Canvas.
Canvas is an image-centric social website currently in development, led by Christopher Poole. Canvas has an imageboard that allows users to anonymously share and comment on media, with eventual plans to include video and audio. The site also has image editing tools built into its interface, so users no longer need to rely on desktop editing programs to manipulate content.
4chan is a simple image-based bulletin board where anyone can post comments and share images. Different boards are dedicated to different topics, from Japanese anime to videogames, music, and photography. Users do not need to register a username before participating in the community.
Christopher “moot” Poole is the founder of 4chan—a simple, image-based bulletin board. Since its inception, 4chan has grown from a niche site targeting anime fans, to one of the largest and most influential communities on the ‘Net. Commanding over 9 million users a month, many popular viral videos, phenomena and memes get their start on 4chan. In 2009, moot was selected by TIME Magazine’s editors as one of the TIME 100”: an annual list of “The World’s Most Influential...