The round is worth just shy of $30 million, and places post-money valuation on the company of around $200 million, said multiple sources close to the situation. It was led by Shasta Ventures, with Thrive Capital and, interestingly, China’s Tencent participating. Sources added that it is still possible that Tencent might add another $15 million to the round, said a source, presumably increasing the valuation.
The new round is on top of $21 million with a $76 million valuation for the last round Whisper did back in September. Existing investors, such as Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners, have also joined this new round.
Even in these frothy times, it would have been quite a feat for a mobile app company to spend that much that fast. Sources described the current funding as creating a stockpile for future growth.
The Los Angeles area-based Whisper is part of a backlash to the braggy, social-climbing, buzzy nature of the social media era. It’s trying to encourage people to say what they really think and feel, by taking away the pressure of their permanent online record. Within the Whisper app, there’s no notion of profiles or followers.
Whisper is especially hot with young people and on college campuses, although it’s recently been surpassed in popularity in Silicon Valley by San Francisco-based Secret, which is raising a closely watched Series A round of about $10 million with a $50 million valuation, as others have reported.
Secret has a slicker design than Whisper, with a neat personalization twist that centers on anonymous gossip and confessions from people known to each user. Whisper is a more serious operation at this point, with a massive content moderation team and established efforts to help people who confess things that seem particularly concerning.
Whisper has also recently been experimenting with some of its first monetization projects, through a promotional deal with Universal Pictures, according to a source. But it will be interesting to see how these apps start bringing in money that does not come directly from the bank accounts of VCs.