One night during the summer of 2007, I sat down at my computer and tried to solve a problem. I was constantly trying to move articles and video from work to home but was failing to find an efficient method to do so. I was emailing myself links and keeping tons of tabs open in my browser and it just wasn’t working. Instead, I decided to build an extension for my browser that could keep track of my content.
What I built was called Read It Later.
Turns out, this was a problem that a lot of other people had too. Today, four years later, Read It Later has been used by over 3.5 million people. These people use it to save millions of links every week. They read on every browser and mobile platform and have saved over 100 million articles from the 256 applications that integrate Read It Later.
Read It Later grew not because it was made by a big company or a team with a lot of money or someone with connections in the tech industry. It grew because it was a product people loved and because it had a dedicated team who poured everything they had into building it. Surprisingly enough, even after all those years, that team was just one guy: me.
As you may have noticed, in all of my blog, Twitter, and support posts, I always used the word “I” when referring to the company. I’ve always done this because Read It Later was just me.
Read It Later has been an enormous amount of work for one person. Even though I’ve been lucky to have some very generous individuals lend their time and advice through the years, I’ve been the man behind the curtain building apps and extensions, programming, designing, going to meetings, answering calls, handling support, making decisions, and fighting through every minute of server downtime.
However, even as the main source of Read It Later’s progress, I ultimately became the biggest roadblock.
As the product has grown, it had become increasingly difficult to continue to do all of this on my own. I had a long roadmap and I wasn’t moving as fast as I (or the users) wanted. All the while, bigger companies made offers and others made similar products. Despite all of these attempts, it was incredibly clear that none of these other companies saw what I saw.
If I wanted to take Read It Later where I wanted, I was no longer going to be able to do it on my own.
Even though as a user you may not have seen a ton of new product releases or features in the past few months, I’ve been working non-stop on the biggest upgrade in the history of Read It Later: growing the company.
I’m thrilled to announce today that Read It Later has not only grown from a team of 1 to a team of 5 but has also raised $2.5 million in funding from Foundation Capital, Baseline Ventures, Founder Collective, Google Ventures, and a number of other insanely supportive investors.
After many months of putting this together, the team and I will be moving into our first office space in downtown San Francisco next week and will begin rapidly moving through the roadmap I had been working so hard to focus on.
Today is the last post I’ll be writing as “I.” There is no greater feeling than having others believe in something you created and want to make it their own. I am honored and extraordinarily proud to stand alongside the incredibly smart and talented team of peers and investors that now make up Read It Later.
Read It Later is no longer “me,” but has become “we” and we could not be more excited to show you what we have planned.
P.S. Want to be part of the “we?” We’re looking for #6, 7, and 8 at Read It Later.