Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Another Twitter App Funded: TweetDeck Raises an Angel Round. Next Up: A Business Plan

Yes, you can still get someone to invest in a Web start-up with zero revenue. It helps if you can insert the word “Twitter” into your pitch, though.

TweetDeck, a one-man company that makes a very helpful piece of free software that organizes your Twitter streams, is raising an angel round led by Betaworks, the investment company with a hankering for all things Twitter. The round, which hasn’t closed yet, will eventually end up somewhere south of $500,000, I’m told.

When it does, the financing will make 34-year-old programmer Iain Dodsworth a paper millionaire. Nice work for a Brit who built TweetDeck just last June because he was following 30 people on Twitter and wanted a better way to organize their Tweets.

Dodsworth says TweetDeck has been downloaded 250,000 times since then and that users are sending out 120,000 messages a day using the software. That places it above other free Twitter clients like Twitterific and twhirl, both of which are cranking out 80,000 to 85,000 messages a day, according to tracking service TweetRush.

All of them are part of the burgeoning ecosystem that revolves around Twitter, which powers all of their companies by letting them plug into its data stream. In exchange, all of these companies make Twitter more successful, by bolting on frills and features to its bare-bones service.

And no money changes hands at any point: Twitter doesn’t charge for use of its data, and its partners do all their development work for free. That could change at some point. As Twitter casts about for a business model to support its service–it is, famously, just about revenue-free at this point–an obvious solution would be to start charging a fee to the likes of TweetDeck.

No problem, says Dodsworth, who says he’d be happy to pay Twitter, particularly if it gave him even more access in exchange. Oh. And what about his business model? It’s coming, Dodsworth says–he’d like to start selling a pro version of his software, targeting power users and corporations.

That strikes me as a fairly small market, but then again TweetDeck is a very small operation. Dodsworth says he doesn’t plan on hiring any additional help in the near future, even as he preps new features like a version for Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone.

I’ll let him explain himself, via a short video interview I taped with him yesterday–just as soon as the Internet cooperates and lets me post the clip. In the meantime, you can also track Dodsworth on Twitter here or here.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik