Biz Stone's Jelly raises money from big name investors

Al Gore, Bono, Jack Dorsey, Reid Hoffman and Evan Williams all contributed

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
May 16, 2013
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Twitter co-founder Biz Stone has been remarkably cagey about what his new startup, called Jelly, is all about. But that has not stopped him from raising money from a pretty remarkable roster of investors.

The company raised an undisclosed amount of money in a round led by Spark Capital with additional investment by SV Angel, it was revealed in a blog post Thursday.

In addition to the two investors, Jelly also received funding from a group of high profile individual investor: Square CEO Jack Dorsey; U2 frontman Bono; Reid Hoffman, with the Greylock Discovery Fund; Stone's Twitter co-founder Evan Williams and Jason Goldman via Obvious; former Vice President Al Gore; Emmy winning director Greg Yaitanes; author and entrepreneur Steven Johnson; and Afghan entrepreneur and businesswoman Roya Mahboob.

"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," Stone wrote in the post. 

The funding will be used "to hire more great talent and continue building what we think of as the natural next step for our connected society. "

Along with the fundraising, Jelly also announced that  Spark General Partner Bijan Sabet has joined the company's board of directors. 

So what is Jelly, exactly? That, my faithful reader, is the big mystery. All I can say is that it seems to have something to do with mobile.

"As mobile devices have taken an increasingly central role in our lives, humanity has grown more connected than ever—herein lies massive opportunity," said Stone. 

Also, it was named after the jellyfish "because neurologically, its brain is more 'we' than 'me'" according to Stone.

Beyond that, it is anyone's guess, though Stone promises to share more information about the company when it is able to "move beyond early prototyping."

Jelly was co-founded by co-founded by Ben Finkel, who also co-founded  Q&A service Fluther, where Stone had been an advisor. The startup was eventually acquired by Twitter. Finkel is the company's CTO.

Since the existance of Jelly was first announced in April, it has added two employees: engineer Austin Sarner, who helped develop Push Pop Press before it was sold to Facebook; and the Head of Twitter's recently released #Music app Kevin Thau.

Beyond just what exactly Jelly is, there is another question swirling around the company: will Stone be forced to leave Medium, the publishing platform he and Williams launched in August 2012? That project seems like it is more of Williams' baby than Stone's, so perhaps Jelly is his chance to pursue his passion as well.

But, like just about everything else regarding Jelly, we will just have to wait and see.

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