After School, the popular anonymous social app that sells itself as a “private message board for your school,” has raised $16.4 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Accomplice, formerly Atlas Ventures, Tikhon Bernstam, and AngelList-founder Naval Ravikant.
Founded in 2014, After School has millions of high school students flocking to the app to talk about anything and everything under the safety of anonymity. Just what self-aware, impressionable teenagers need, right? Although the app could be abused by bullies to threaten and intimidate, it’s pitched as a way for teenagers to be able to be themselves and discuss things that are important to them. The iOS-only app lets students privately share text-based posts with other students within their schools.
Cofounder and CEO Michael Callahan said he built the app as a way to give teens a “safe haven” that he did not have at school, where he himself was a victim of bullying.
“Growing up, I dealt with my girlfriend’s attempted suicides, being bullied because I was different, child abuse, and being taken advantage of sexually,” he said. “I want to be a voice for those who are not able to speak up.”
Alongside the funding news, After School has revealed a partnership with DoSomething.org to “engage teens in social causes and campaigns to create positive change,” the company said in a press release. The first DoSomething.org campaign to be integrated into After School is “Mirror Messages,” which encourages students to post positive messages to boost the self-esteem of their friends and fellow students.
The cash influx, which is the startup’s first significant funding, will be used to “further the company’s mission to improve the quality of life for their users through safety features and unique opportunities,” it said.