When the app formerly known as Read It Later redesigned itself and changed its name to Pocket back in April, founder Nate Weiner wasn't sure how it would go. "In general, rebranding can go either way," Weiner told The Verge. The redesign was inspired by data that showed users were using Read It Later to save photos, videos, recipes, and things they planned to buy. And although the name change was drastic, no users were lost in the shuffle. "The reason that we built Pocket the way it was, was because we saw that this is how we ourselves and our users were using it," Weiner said.
Pocket added 1.5 million registered users after the redesign. It now has 6 million users who save a million items a day. Users are starting to think of Pocket as a place to save all sorts of media: The amount of video saved by users has doubled since the redesign, Weiner said. The app differentiated itself from other save-for-later apps (ahem, Instapaper) by adding filters to separate different types of content, and, of course, by being free.
Pocket raised a $5 million round of funding to tackle a 'massive list of things we want to do'
Today, Pocket has another announcement. The company raised a $5 million round of funding on top of the $2.5 million it raised last year. The round was led by Foundation Capital, a Menlo Park firm that also backed Netflix. Firms participating included Baseline Ventures, a relatively new firm founded by eBay veteran Steve Anderson, and the choosy Google Ventures.
Pocket actually had plenty of money left over from its previous raise, Weiner said, but he and his team realized they had a "massive list of things we want to do." Pocket is available for iPhone and iPad, Android, and the Kindle Fire. It's integrated into more than 350 apps including Flipboard and Twitter. Even so, expanding to even more platforms is a top priority. Pocket will also use the funding to beef up its eight-person team, and to make the app faster and more stable.
As Pocket evolves, the consumption aspect will improve, Weiner said. Right now, Pocket serves up the items you've saved in a tile format in chronological order. "It's a pretty list, but it's still a list," he said. Hypothetically, in the future Pocket may serve up different content depending on time of day and what device you're using, he said.
"People spend a lot of time inside Pocket," Weiner said, and he'd like to keep it that way. The already showed how closely he watches user behavior. With the new funding, Pocket will hire more developers and tweak whatever it has to in order to keep users maximally engaged.