Social App Secret Raises $8.6 Million
Secret, the anonymous social sharing startup, announced on Friday it had raised an $8.6 million Series A round of venture funding.
As was reported previously, participation in the round included Alexis Ohanian and Garry Tan of Initialized Ventures, as well as existing seed investors Google Ventures and Kleiner Perkins.
The new news: The amount of funds raised was small enough that Secret co-founders David Byttow and Chrys Bader remain the sole members of Secret’s board of directors.
For an app that’s only 45 days old, Secret has generated massive buzz in Silicon Valley. I’ve been told there was lots of interest from multiple firms in getting in on this round of funding.
Though along with all the hype, the startup has a number of challenges. Secret has been criticized — often by me — for the vicious, anonymous bullying that occurs inside the app, something that may be a problem if it finds footing in younger audiences. Cyberbullying, in particular, has been a main point of contention for companies like Facebook and Twitter, and could prove difficult to handle for the young startup.
There’s also the issue of monetization, but as many tech entrepreneurs will attest, that’s likely not top of mind for the young company quite yet.
Secret hasn’t divulged any user numbers, and I doubt they will any time soon. But engagement among its existing community remains high, with 75 percent of people who have more than five friends on the service coming back on a daily basis.
The point of the round, as I understand it, was to bring in a bunch of folks who seem to know what they’re doing and know how to shape the young company as it slowly matures — without Byttow or Bader ceding any control over Secret.