Yik Yak, which makes an anonymous location-based gossip app, has raised $10 million led by DCM with Azure Capital Partners, Renren Lianhe Holdings and Tim Draper.
The iOS and Android app, which is targeted at college students, has been called “the most dangerous form of social media I’ve ever seen” by a psychiatrist, due to the potential for bullying young people. It’s part of a bumper crop of anonymity apps that also includes Whisper and Secret. It is less than a year old.
Asked about how Yik Yak deals with negativity, co-founder Brooks Buffington acknowledged that “people may use it inappropriately.” But he said the company had dealt with many of its problems in March by blacklisting locations associated with high schools and middle schools in the U.S., through a partnership with a company called Maponics.
And further, Yik Yak now has “a few million users,” and usage is spreading to major cities while its college users are living off campus for the summer. The app also recently added a feature where people can look at the feed of messages in a specific location — like their college campus, a sporting event or a concert — from afar.
Buffington said the app isn’t just about gossip; it’s also about seeking local information, because people can only post messages to those who are nearby. “We want it to be the first app that you open up when you’re in a new place,” he said.
Based in Atlanta, Yik Yak now has seven employees and expects to use the funding to continue a hiring spree to support its growth, Buffington said.
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