Jelly, Biz Stone’s Mysterious Startup, Reveals Bono, Al Gore, and More as InvestorsBy: Josh Wolford - May 16, 2013
On April 1st, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone confirmed that he was working on a new startup called Jelly. He was kind of forced into revealing his hand, after news of the project leaked in late March. When Stone announced the company, he said that he was going to wait to share much of the details, since “news of Jelly emerged unexpectedly.”
Since then, we’ve received little else to go on. The project’s focus continues to be shrouded in secrecy, and we really only know that it will be primarily mobile-based, free, and won’t be ready for quite a while. In the meantime, Biz Stone has been revealing team members – including former Twitter employee Ben Finkel (co-founder and CTO), Twitter’s Kevin Thau (COO), and employee #1, designer Austin Sarner.
Today, in a blog post, Stone has announced that Jelly has just closed its Series A funding, lead by Spark Capital with investment from SV Angel. With that, Spark General Partner Bijan Sabet in now on Jelly’s Board of Directors.
Stone has also revealed some of Jelly’s early investors, and it’s an interesting list:
- Jack Dorsey, Co-founder and CEO of Square
- Bono, Musician and Activist
- Reid Hoffman with the Greylock Discovery Fund
- Steven Johnson, Author and Entrepreneur
- Evan Williams and Jason Goldman via Obvious
- Al Gore, Politician, Philanthropist, Nobel Laureate
- Greg Yaitanes, Emmy Winning Director
- Roya Mahboob, Afghan Entrepreneur and Businesswoman
Dorsey and Evan Williams – duh. But Bono and Al Gore? Hmm.
“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,” says Stone.
When Jelly was first officially announced, Stone said this:
People are basically good – when provided a tool that helps them do good in the world, they prove it. Jelly is a new company and product named after the jellyfish. We are inspired by this particular animal because neurologically, its brain is more “we” than “me.” Also, for the past 700 million years, this decentralized structure has been wildly successful.
“Help them do good in the world.” Is that the key phrase here? Is Jelly some sort of mobile social good app? Who knows, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, as Stone is quite serious about keeping a tight lid on this thing. But the addition of Bono, Al Gore, and an Afghani activist hints that Jelly will be striving to do some sort of international good at the very least.