Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake rolls out Pinwheel

She did Flickr. Then Hunch. Now she's launching Pinwheel.

Caterina Fake is launching a company called Pinwheel.

The co-founder of Flickr and Hunch is out with her latest startup, called Pinwheel.

Caterina Fake just launched it in private beta, and the site--and its name--at first glance seems similar to Pinterest , one of the fastest-growing sites on the Web.

Fake raised $7.5 million, with Redpoint Ventures leading the round. Other investors include Ron Conway's SV Angel and The Obvious Corp., run by Twitter founders Ev Williams and Biz Stone.

That's big money for a startup that's just rolling out and so far has no users. But investors bet on people as much as an idea, and Fake has a solid track record.

"I'd probably invest in Caterina even if I was unsure of the idea," said Geoff Yang, a Redpoint founding partner who is joining the board of Pinwheel. "In this situation, this is a great entrepreneur and an interesting idea."

So what is Pinwheel? Fake explains it as a way to "find and leave notes all around the world." She goes on:

The notes can be public or private, shared with an individual, a group, or everyone. They can be organized into sets, such as, say, "Tales from the Road: Kiss' 1974 'Hotter Than Hell' Tour," "Best Spots for Butterfly Hunting," "Every place that you told me that you loved me, circa 2008," or "Find Me a Nearby Toilet NOW." You can follow people, places, and sets. And in the future, you will get notifications on your phone from who and what you choose. Following sets is useful, because that friend of yours with the great taste in coffee shops may also have an unhealthy obsession with, say, 1970s glam metal band Kiss, and frankly, in childhood you were traumatized by a photograph of Gene Simmons and don't need to repeat that in your dotage. Here's an example of what a note looks like. This is one of my notes from Grand Central Station:
An image from Pinwheel. Caterina Fake

Fake sold her first startup, Flickr, to Yahoo in 2005 for a reported $35 million. In fact, she describes Pinwheel as like Flickr for places. Then, in November eBay bought Hunch for a reported $80 million.

Fake announced the launch of Pinwheel on Twitter and her site, Caterina.net, so check out more about it here.

Updated at 9:40 a.m PST: Added details about the funding.

 

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