Ello, the invite-only social network that promises zero ads, is off to a great start.
Ello CEO Paul Budnitz just announced the social network has raised $US5.5 million in venture funding led by led by Foundry Group in Boulder, Colo., according to Re/code.
Budnitz plans to use the funding to further build up Ello’s back-end infrastructure to help support its recent growth.
This is also the first time we’re hearing about how many users Ello has signed up. Budnitz says Ello now has over 1 million users, with up to 40,000 to 50,000 sign-ups an hour during the initial frenzy to secure a spot in the new network. There are apparently 3 million hopeful users are on the waiting list.
Budnitz told Re/code that while he was already in talks with Foundry Group to raise a round of funding, the round was originally planned for a few months from now but moved forward due to the need for a stable infrastructure to support demand.
Interestingly enough, Ello’s founders and investors have also signed a charter legally changing Ello into a State of Delaware Public Benefit Corporation. The charter’s terms state that Ello will be legally prevented from making money by running ads, selling user data, or changing these terms if the company is ever sold.
Ello’s plan to survive without generating ad revenue from its users faced criticism early on, but Budnitz recently told Business Insider that it currently has 10x the number of users to support its business model, which will allow users to purchase additional Ello features for a few dollars.
To read more about Ello’s plans, check out our interview with Budnitz right here.