Clipboard – the web clipping service that is a little like a cross between Evernote and Pinterest, racking up 1.7 million clips since opening for private beta in October 2011 – has taken a strategic investment from ed-tech company Scientia. The backing will result in joint product development between the two to target the education market with online collaboration tools.
A spokesperson for Scientia would not disclose the value of its stake, but Clipboard notes it’s the biggest investment to date in the company, which had previously raised $1.5 million from an illustrious group of backers that include Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, CrunchFund, SV Angel, Betaworks and DFJ, among others. Previously Andreessen Horowitz had been Clipboard’s biggest investor; now that title falls to Scientia.
“Scientia is very excited to support Clipboard, we have been impressed with the toolset it has created and we share a common vision for how collaboration will evolve,” said Baron Steven Bentinck, chairman of Scientia Limited, in a statement. “The potential for educational markets with Clipboard is immense, the company’s powerful features allow for first-of-a-kind collaboration around research, classwork, projects and more from across the web.”
The two companies also did not disclose when it would roll out its first joint products. Scientia already has one product in a beta test, Clique-In, that has been developed over the last nine months, and it’s looking to put Clipboard into it. Scientia’s main business is in developing scheduling and timetabling solutions for educational institutions, and it has about 500 customers, Grant Ingram, Scientia’s group director of business development, told me earlier. Adding a service to aggregate interesting and relevant links for teachers to use in their lessons, and for students to use in their online studies, fits well in that regard.
Apart from being an effective service, Clipboard is a company to watch for other reasons.
It is founded and headed by Gary Flake, the ex-chief science officer of search ad giant Overture who then took a role as head of research at Yahoo after it bought Overture, and was then later a senior exec at Microsoft.
And it is very of-the-moment. People are online all the time and need good ways of organizing what they find there, but they like to do so with privacy in mind. The service is “be default” private, which also makes it a natural partner for enterprise or education services, although users can also share their content and are encouraged to do so.
“Our growth and engagement metrics clearly show that people need to privately save and share items of interest from the Web with one another,” said Flake in a statement. “Moreover, our strategic investment from Scientia validates that Clipboard is on the right path and we will continue offering the best products for saving and sharing the web, privately and publicly.”
Since coming out of beta in May 2012, Clipboard has picked up some decent momentum, with 100,000 users as of last month and the introduction of several new features to improve clipping functionality and improve usage on the go with an iOS app.
Since opening for beta in October 2011, the company says it’s grown by 40 percent month-on-month, with 4.2 million page views. Among the 1.7 million+ clips that have been saved to date, some interesting usage patterns have emerged: 20 percent of the clips have been published with others, 48 percent have been tagged and 67 percent of the clips have been manually annotated.