Microsoft, Yahoo Vet Starts Clipboard: "Social Media With A Purpose"

This morning, an SEC filing revealed that Gary Flake, a former Overture vet who went on to found both Yahoo Research Labs and Microsoft’s Live Labs, raised $1.39 million in funding for a stealthy new startup dubbed Clipboard (I’m not the only one who noticed).

Flake informed me that he wanted to avoid any publicity for now, but since Geekwire already posted on this: Flake is the sole founder of the fledgling Bellevue, Washington-based company, which is apparently building ‘social media with a purpose’ (which is still vague, admittedly).

The URL for the service will be – it wasn’t that hard to find out that the renowned computer scientist is in fact the owner of that domain name even though he started protecting his identity in the WHOIS data at some point.

Flake said he wouldn’t disclose the names of the investors at this point, as some would possibly prefer to be kept out of the spotlights, but we’ve learned that there are a little over a dozen investors involved, ranging from large institutional funds, mid-size seed VCs and angel groups, as well as a few individual investors.

The concept for Clipboard, which will be kept under wraps until further notice, has apparently been in development for a couple of months already (Flake announced his resignation from Microsoft on Twitter in October 2010). A number of early hires will start working for the company next week, Flake informs me.

Flake is a computer scientist who is well known for having authored the book “The Computational Beauty of Nature (MIT Press 1998)”, which is apparently used in college courses worldwide. He has numerous publications spanning over 15 years which have focused on machine learning, data mining, and self-organization.

Flake became Overture’s Chief Science Officer in 2002, and after Yahoo merged with Overture, ran Yahoo! Research Labs, its corporate research and development activities, eventually becoming a vice president at the company. He joined Microsoft in 2005, where he founded Live Labs, which was shut down at the end of last year.

Whatever he has planned, we would love to see what it will turn out to be.