Many entrepreneurs privately disparage venture capitalists as egoistic, autocratic, and increasingly unnecessary. Not serial entrepreneur Mike McCue. He believes in VC.
Case in point: McCue’s newest startup, Flipboard, a 20-month-old iPad application that transforms social media feeds into an elegant, print-like magazine. Though the Palo Alto, California-based company has yet to develop a business model — McCue is contemplating running full-page ads and allowing publishers to charge subscriptions to their Flipboard-rendered content — Flipboard has already raised $60 million in venture capital from Kleiner Perkins, Index Ventures, and others.
One can certainly see what some of the excitement is about. Thanks to the work of company’s 40-odd employees, Flipboard is a slick product. Nevertheless, when I asked McCue earlier this week if he knows how many people use the application on a daily basis, he answered, “Yes, I do,” laughed politely, then offered some metrics that Flipboard prefers disclosing, including that the app has been downloaded 2.8 million times, and that every month, people “flip” between 400 million and 500 million pages.
The numbers suggest some meaningful engagement, but McCue’s confidence in his ability to turn Flipboard into a billion-dollar company seems closely bound to his track record with his investors.