Waiting for Private Boards on Pinterest? Try BOLT

June 12, 2012

12:00 pm

San Francisco startup BOLT launches publicly today with a way to bookmark webpages and view them Pinterest-style.

When you bookmark a webpage, BOLT makes a copy that is available even if the page is taken down, including images and links. You can add a note on the page, as with Scribe, and make comments on other users’ “bolts.”

One of my favorite bolts

The obvious question for BOLT is how it differs from Pinterest, which has already established itself among today’s top social networks. According to cofounder Jamie Roche, BOLT is more like a personal “treasure trove” of websites you save for yourself:

“Pinterest is like a media mall, almost. It’s a bunch of people getting together and trying to figure out what it’s going to take to get more followers, or more people to look at their stuff – which is fine, there’s nothing wrong with that,” says Roche, who cofounded BOLT with his brother Matt.

For example, you’ll see a lot more plain text when you search for poetry on BOLT than on Pinterest – it’s more about permanent bookmarking than creating a visual pinboard. Plus, 15% of the content on BOLT is private, while Pinterest still doesn’t have private boards. Taking advantage of that, Roche put together a page with photos of potential investors so he would recognize them in a meeting, and he also uses BOLT to track his competitors. I might use BOLT to privately save sources for an upcoming article.

Spurred by a $5 million investment from Benchmark Capital in 2010, BOLT has already garnered 30,000 users during its private beta.

“We probably appear closer to Pinterest than we are, and we will be more and more different as time goes by,” says Roche. For now, though, BOLT is better when privacy is a must.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact [email protected]

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