Twitter co-founder Biz Stone’s new and mysterious startup called Jelly still isn’t saying what it’s up to, but it has announced funding. According to details posted to the official company blog this morning, the team has raised a Series A from a notable lineup of investors in a round led by Spark Capital, with additional investment from SV Angel, and a group of angels that includes Square CEO Jack Dorsey;Reid Hoffman; Bono (what!), Evan Williams and Jason Goldman via Obvious; Al Gore; Emmy-winning director Greg Yaitanes; and Afghan entrepreneur Roya Mahboob.
As a part of the funding, Spark General Partner Bijan Sabet now joins Jelly’s board of directors.
The company explains that it chose the angels for their diversity of experience, something that’s important to Jelly’s team as well as to its product, whatever that may be:
“We chose angels like Al Gore, a Partner at KPCB and Chairman and Co-founder of Generation Investment Management, Greg Yaitanes, a Hollywood director, and Roya Mahboob, an entrepreneur doing amazing work for women in Afghanistan partly because they work in divergent fields. Knowledge diversity is something we prize highly and is also something that will be represented in our product.”
The post also revealed that the Jelly product is only in the early prototyping phases right now, which is one reason why the company has yet to reveal product details to the general public.
The additional funding – no amount was provided – will be used for hiring and development, as is par for the course.
Jelly has already been busy on the hiring front as of late however, having recently hired former Twitter engineering manager and Fluther co-founder Ben Finkel as Jelly’s co-founder and CTO, as well as Kevin Thau, the man responsible for Twitter’s new app, Twitter music.
Though details as to what Jelly is up to are scarce, earlier hints seem to point to some sort of “social good” intention with the service, like perhaps offering a way for users to connect to social causes and show off their contributions. Stone recently explained that “People are basically good—when provided a tool that helps them do good in the world, they prove it.”
Philanthropy and volunteering don’t have many central homes on today’s web, as TechCrunch previously noted in a discussion about Jelly’s possible plans – save for something like Causes, which works on top of Facebook’s open graph, having never taken off as a standalone service of its own. In fact, social media-based activism has been under fire for years as being a poor substitute for real-world action. Liking and sharing and posting and re-tweeting does not necessarily have the desired impact on effecting change, though it may raise awareness.
Today’s announcement from Jelly still gives no hints as to how it plans to help people “do good in the world,” only noting that the proliferation of mobile devices is a big factor in its plans. “As mobile devices have taken an increasingly central role in our lives, humanity has grown more connected than ever—herein lies massive opportunity.”