Recode reported yesterday that L.A.-based anonymous sharing app, Whisper, has raised another $3 million from venture capitalists, raising its post-money valuation to $200 million. Along with Whisper’s existing investors, China’s Tencent has joined leading investors Shasta Ventures and Thrive Capital in this round. The new funding comes on top of September’s round that raised $21 million (with a $76 million valuation).
San Francisco-based Secret has surpassed Whisper in popularity in Silicon Valley since its launch last month, reportedly raising around $10 million in a closely-followed Series A round with a $50 million valuation. Its disappearing text message idea was initially rejected by investors who have since realized that anonymous sharing is gaining in popularity — especially among younger users — in the push back against public sharing that entails hyper-focusing on the details of one’s offline life in order to make a good impression online.
But while Secret centers on anonymous confessions and untoward gossip among users who have real-life connections, Whisper’s users are completely anonymous. Its moderators make enormous efforts to block offensive content and help users who post content in the form of suicidal ideation, confessions of self harm or eating disorders, by removing the posts from public view and tagging them with “Your Whisper has been heard.” The original poster is offered help with an invitation to contact Whisper’s own not-for-profit called Your Voice.
As AllThingsD explained, “On Whisper, people share deep personal thoughts written in text over images, except they are completely anonymous. You can message the creator of any post, but there are no user profiles. And, if someone posts again, it’s under a totally different anonymous handle. There’s no such thing as a celebrity user or a Whisper star.”
According to a Recode source, Whisper is also experimenting with monetization through a promotional deal with Universal Pictures: “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.”