ifttt ("if this then that") has raised financing from cutting-edge tech incubator Betaworks. News of the funding came to us via NeuVC's bot watching the firm's portfolio page, which is fitting given the nature of the startup.Point and click web mashup startup
ifttt allows anyone to set up a chain of conditional actions between a wide variety of web services, like "If I post a photo to Flickr, save it to my Dropbox." The company calls these "recipes." We wrote about the service when it launched to the public in September. Microsoft's Scott Hanselman also wrote up a nice review of the service and says "this is going to be huge." ifttt isn't just a single service, though, and it isn't even just an amalgamation of multiple services strung-together; it's a great example of a whole paradigm of DIY mashups. As Blogger and WordPress were to self-publishing and YouTube was to video publishing, so ifttt could be to working with interlinked web applications for everyday people. Can this startup herald a new era of lay hackers? The UI is good, the only question is whether there's really enough demand for such a service.
ifttt was started by Linden Tibbets, a computer scientist formerly at design powerhouse IDEO, film artist Alexander Tibbets and designer Jesse Tane, also formerly of IDEO.
Here's how the startup introduced itself at launch:
"We began with the theory that as our digital tools became more domain specific and easier to use, there would be vast amounts of creative potential in how any two tools might be used in tandem. We knew that with this immense potential came a problem of equal proportions. There just aren't enough developers and designers in the world to craft all these connections. A million developers at a million laptops wouldn't even make a dent. So we set out to build an incredibly simple tool that anyone could use to define creative, event-driven tasks that fit the pattern 'if this then that.'"
If there's anyone who can pull something like this off, having experience at IDEO is great background from which to give it a shot.
Is this something that a whole lot of people are going to be interested in and go to the trouble to do? I know I am and I wouldn't be surprised to see that you are, RWW readers, but it will be interesting to see how this becomes a business. Either way, it's great to see one of the web's most interesting investors back something so focused on generating creative use of online tools.