Wiper announced today that it has raised another $2 million, bringing its total seed round to $4.5 million as the messaging app expands into entertainment. The company has also launched a $4.99 monthly streaming service for independent films, along with an Apple TV app.
The latest infusion of capital comes from the company’s existing investor Michael Choupak, a serial Internet entrepreneur who founded cloud-based business email provider Intermedia. He provided the first half of Wiper’s seed round in 2014, putting in $2.5 million.
Created as a way to let you not only communicate, but also consume entertainment and transfer money using Bitcoin, Wiper seeks to differentiate itself from better-known messaging services like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. In this age of government spying and privacy concerns, Wiper utilizes encryption technology to let you communicate with additional assurances of privacy.
Besides chatting, you can watch YouTube videos and songs right from the app, as well as making voice calls. When you’re done with your activity, Wiper lets you simply erase the data from your device, from your friend’s device, and from the server, hopefully leaving no trace of your viewing history or communication.
Since Wiper is all about entertainment, it has launched a monthly subscription service to connect you with thousands of original shorts and feature-length films produced by indie filmmakers. Sixty-five percent of the $4.99 monthly fee will go directly to the creators, paid out through Bitcoin. The company claims that its service offers an alternative to the traditional Hollywood model by providing a distribution opportunity to filmmakers who don’t have major studio backing and don’t have enough clout to get their film streamed on Netflix or Amazon.
Wiper users can now play previews of available movies through the company’s mobile apps. In an effort to entice you to subscribe, Wiper said it makes 20 percent of a film available for free. The film subscription also offers ways for the filmmakers to directly communicate with you using messaging and sharing tools.
Wiper isn’t the first service to tout its encryption as a way to avoid surveillance and hackers. It offers similar services to the likes of Telegram, Signal from Open Whisper Systems, and Cyber Dust. However, this appears to be the first time that such a service has incorporated a film library that can be accessed on-demand.
The service is free for users on iOS, Android, and on Apple TV. It’s also available in 28 languages, including English, Afrikaans, Brazilian Portuguese, Danish, Filipino, French, Hungarian, Japanese, Persian, Russian, Turkish, and Vietnamese.