Spool’s next bet is on collaborative curation

Until recently, Spool was pitching itself as the best way to bookmark and sync content that you want to consume later across multiple devices. But it sees an opportunity to be more than just a way for users to manage content that is interesting to them. It is also enabling them to share that content with relevant groups.

The application is a bit of a combination of Dropbox and Evernote, letting users store videos, articles, images and even PDFs in the cloud. The application then automatically downloads that content to mobile and tablet devices for consuming later. But the sharing aspect, and how people have begun using it, is what is really interesting and a real opportunity, according to founder Avichal Garg.

While Facebook and other services are enabling so-called frictionless sharing of what our friends and contacts are watching and consuming at any given time, that has also resulted in a lot of noise and not a whole lot of signal. It is hard to know what’s good and what’s not. So what Spool hopes to do is to enable users to more easily share relevant content within groups.

The idea sprung out of usage that the Spool team was seeing among its users and its own staff. Garg explained that the startup’s employees were sharing links and stories within the company and found that other users were doing the same. Those shared links then show up in a users’ Spools for reading later, just as though they bookmarked them themselves. That kind of application could be helpful for sharing relevant documents and news among enterprise team members, for instance.

It has become an interesting market opportunity for Spool, as the company looks to leverage both user stickiness and network effects to bring in new users. “No one owns the market for small group sharing,” Garg told us in a meeting last week. As more users become hooked, the company is more likely to convert them into paying users.

The San Francisco–based startup has also seen a large increase in the number of users signing up after being featured on the Android Market.(s GOOG) While Spool was featured, Garg said it was seeing ten times the number of downloads and sign-ups that it usually received. Retention rates vary, but Garg said that once someone becomes an active user, they are not likely to quit.

“If we get you using Spool, we know you’ll probably still be around in three months,” he said.

Spool recently closed a $1 million round of financing from investors like SV Angel, Felicis Ventures, Start Fund and Charles River Ventures, as well as angels Vivi Nevo, Steve Chen, Elad Gil, Deep Nishar, Kevin Donahue, Joe Lonsdale, Bill Lohse, David King, Nils Johnson, Matt Ocko and Raymond Tonsing.