Ping.fm? A lot of people do, but now you can add LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and Creative Commons Foundation Chairman Joi Ito to the list. The two are among the most high profile angel investors in the startup world and they've both just put money into Ping.fm, according to a post on the company's blog this morning.Who uses cross-posting social media app
The service lets users send a message through one interface (SMS, IM, web publishing tools) and then automatically cross posts it to more than 30 other social networking sites. It's a way to broadcast your messages into more networks than you could otherwise participate in. Now with some very visible investment, the company should be able to scale and roll out even more features.
Ping.fm is just one of a number of companies trying to help users get their content out into multiple social networks automatically. They are all a little bit different. New entrant Tarpipe may offer the most sophisticated user controls and Pixelpipe stores high resolution copies of the photos and video it broadcasts in lower quality. There are a number of different services like this, but Ping.fm may be the most popular and now it's getting a big boost from Ito and Hoffman.
Reid Hoffman was one of a number of early PayPal execs who made out well when eBay bought their company in 2002. Now referred to as "the PayPal mafia," the group sticks together informally to invest in or work for their many small investments in new Web 2.0 companies. (See, for example, our news breaking coverage of another PayPal team member, Dave McClure, joining the high profile Founders Fund last week.) This group has been closely tied to the early days of YouTube, Facebook and Digg. For an excellent and engaging history of the connections between all these companies, see Sarah Lacy's new book Once You're Lucky, Twice You're Good.
Getting an investment from Hoffman could bode well for future, larger, fund raising efforts by Ping.fm. Hoffman is in touch with many of the hottest projects on the web - he's on the Board of Mozilla, Kiva.org, gaming company Zynga and a number of other companies.
Lacy calls Hoffman a "friend-tor," as opposed to an investor. He's among the group of young technologists who have experienced the good and bad about institutional investors and can relate to young technologists who need to be more cautious than most people were in the first web bubble. Plus LinkedIn is awesome, so we're sure Hoffman offers good advice.
Joi Ito has an equally impressive resume (see his Wikipedia profile, for example). He was an early stage investor in Flickr, Last.fm and many other very interesting companies.
Will these two investors make a big difference in helping Ping.fm in particular, and cross posting to multiple social networks, a standard part of life online? Only time will tell, but with the proliferation of niche social networks and the long tail of participation online across networks large and small - it makes sense. Consider the growth of mobile media publishing as well and there's all the more reason to get your content out of a single silo of Flickr, or Twitter. Hoffman and Ito have already bet on it.