Apparently, creating apps for anonymous gossip is a lucrative affair: Secret has just raised a new round of funding from a crop of esteemed investors and is releasing two new features for an enhanced gossiping experience.
After raising its first round of institutional funding back in March, Secret has just pocketed a new round co-led by Index Ventures and Redpoint Ventures, which gives it a $100 million valuation, according to the New York Times.
It’s also releasing two new features: Facebook login and “Collections,” the ability to follow posts on a certain topic.
The first of the two features, which the company says its community has long wanted and “for good reason,” is really aimed at letting you turn your Facebook into the farm of saucy information you always wished you could tap into but couldn’t because of, well, real identities.
Luckily, the Secret team assures us that they “don’t even store your public name.”
The other new feature, called Collections, gives you a way to subscribe to different themed streams of posts, and receive daily roundups of the “very best” posts about these topics. So if you’re absolutely dying to read about post-breakup depression from people you don’t know on a daily basis, you are in luck.
Despite claims of popularity in the U.S. and outside, according to app tracking site App Annie, Secret currently ranks as #132 among top U.S. social networking apps. It doesn’t even make a dent in top U.S. social networking apps overall, yet is attracting top investors, and a lot of funding.
Danny Rimer, of Index Ventures and a new addition to Secret’s board of directors, seems to strongly believe in the app and its ability to become as huge as Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat.
In a blog post regarding the firm’s investment in Secret, he writes:
Facebook and Twitter have grown into multibillion-dollar companies on the basis of one universal truth: people are compelled to share. But while both of these social media behemoths serve an important purpose, they don’t necessarily serve as the best place to address a very important human need: the freedom to share our true thoughts — anonymously and without fear of judgment. That’s why we firmly believe in the role of an anonymous and honest social network, and why we’re excited to co-lead Secret’s $25 million Series B round, along with Redpoint Ventures.
He also lists three reasons for Index’s belief in Secret: the need for and anonymous social network, Secret team (which he finds impressive), and Secret’s “lateral thinking,” meaning that it’s leveraging existing technology and data to create your network on Secret.
While the latter two items are fair arguments, the first, the need for anonymity, is certainly a double-edged sword. Anonymity enables people to safely express things they otherwise couldn’t, but it also opens the door for a host of negative repercussions. Secret and Whisper have already seen their cases of false statements and bullying, and fellow anonymity-based app Yik Yak has had to exclude middle school and high school campuses from its app following incidents of cyberbullying.
Along with the round’s lead investors, Garry Tan and Alexis Ohanian, SV Angel, Fuel Capital, Ceyuan Ventures, and several others also participated.
Secret was founded in 2013 by Chrys Bader-Wechseler and David Byttow, and is based in San Francisco. This new round of funding brings up its funding to a total of $35 million.