Twitter’s Founding Engineer Launches Collaboration Platform, Poetica

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The ability to collaborate on the draft of a document is actually fiendishly tedious online. Many people might be used to Microsoft Word ‘Track Changes’ (ugh) despite the fact it looks awful and takes some getting used to. Nor does Google Docs really create a collaboration experience that mere mortals can get into. Step in Poetica, a brand new startup co-founded by Blaine Cook, formerly Twitter’s founding lead engineer.

Cook has now raised an angel round of funding for the London-based company which is hoping to change how teams create, share and edit work on the web, across any devices and mediums.

Poetica, which opens its doors to new signups today, is a browser-based editor and Chrome extension that portrays a more traditional view of text collaboration – in the same way you might see someone scribble on a piece of paper.

Investors include Shukri Shammas, a partner at Initial Capital; Kima Ventures; US-based investors Knight Foundation’s Knight Enterprise Fund; DFJ Esprit partner Scott Sage; author and broadcaster Steven Berlin Johnson; Postshift co-founders Lee Bryant and Livio Hughes; Huddle co-founder Andy McLoughlin and UK-based angel investor and founder Josh Russell.

The round of funding will be used to built out the service onto other platforms.

The Chrome extension currently works in Gmail, WordPress and few other places.

Along with Blaine Cook, the team includes two co-founders. CEO Anna Maybank, who previously founded the Bethnal Green Ventures accelerator programme and Chief Product Officer James Weiner, who was the founding designer at the Government Digital Service.

Cook says the goal is to “bring rich collaboration tools based on cutting-edge technology and design to everyone” who wants to communicate online. In other words, they are going for a fairly big play here. And he reckons he can do it from London, over the Valley, where he worked at Twitter: “London has an incredible community of brilliant software engineers and designers, and a growing and supportive investor base.”

The timing is good. The collaboration features of Google Docs and others are not exactly amazing and this visual approach lends itself to A4-sized documents instead of the average block of text that you might see on a blog.