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Will investors flip at the chance to back Flipboard’s $200 million valuation?

by Lauren Mitchell

Flipboard, the world’s first social magazine designed for the iPad, may have as much as a $200 million valuation and is reportedly seeking funding according to All Things Digital. Although Flipboard has yet to record any revenue, its value is driven by a high-end customer base - social media junkies who own iPads - with which advertisers would have access.

Knock. Knock. Investors are you there?

Flipboard’s mission to fundamentally improve how people discover, view and share content across their social networks, has been well received. The innovative app curates social media content and reassembles it in a personalized and easy-to-navigate format with headlines and pictures similar to glossy, print magazines.

At the time of Flipboard’s inception, only a small percentage of Americans owned iPads. A unique take on presenting social media in a visually engaging way paired with the successful track records of co-founders Mike McCue - a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and former CEO of TellMe - and Evan Doll, former Apple iPhone engineer, was enough to gather an impressive roster of investors ready to financially back the start-up. Flipboard received an initial $10.5M financial investment from Kleiner Perkins and Index Ventures.

Additional investors Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, The Chernin Group founded by Peter Chernin, Ron Conway, Alfred Lin, Peter Currie, Quincy Smith, and Ashton Kutcher also joined the Series A venture capital round.

With such a lofty valuation, Flipboard seems confident investors will be lining up to answer their calls for cash. The free app’s overwhelming reception, plans that the company will launch an iPhone app later this year, and the consolation that if things don’t go well this second round, the company is likely a target for a buyout, creates an attractive venture trifecta.

The only setbacks could be the numerous competitors that have come along with Flipboard’s success, setting out to capture a piece of the action. Rivals and publishers, who aren’t interested in sharing revenues with Flipboard, have begun to build their own apps with a similar functionality that lays out articles in a paginated format optimized for iPad. Competitors include Tweetmag, Newsmix, and Zite.