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Think Big. Move Fast.

In March 2013 we led the Series A of Whisper, an extraordinarily engaging smartphone app. The app allows users to anonymously share secrets, their text over arresting images. Other users can then read, heart and reply. Here is one on weddings:

 

Here is one on being in the closet:

And here is one about college:

As you can see, anonymity is key to authenticity for these sentiments. This isn’t the sort of stuff you’d put on Facebook or Twitter. And at the same time, it is incredibly compelling stuff to read. Users open the app 8-10 times a day and spend half an hour a day in the app. 45% of users create Whispers, an extraordinary ratio given that the rule of thumb for most user generated content sites is that only 1% create content. Unsurprisingly, this very high engagement leads to very high user retention and user growth.

When we invested in March the company was seeing 500M pageviews/month. Today, six months later, the company is seeing 2.5B pageviews/mth, and is announcing that it is raising a new $21M series B round.

I’m excited to have Roelof Botha from Sequoia join me on the Whisper board. I’ve known Roelof since we were in business school together and was a groomsman in his wedding ten years ago. And when I told him about Whisper a month or so ago, he “got it” right away, and he and his colleagues moved quickly and decisively to lead the new round.

We are doing more than our pro rata on this round and will continue to be the largest investor; we are very excited for the prospects of Whisper. Michael, Brad and the rest of the team are building a truly new social media company at web scale!

  • Sam

    I completely understand how this app solicits a high degree of user participation, and a huge amount of pageviews, but I’m having trouble seeing the real value. It’s essentially lolcat images, but with an emphasis on having one’s opinions validated.

    Are their pageviews really that valuable? Back of the envelope calculations suggest $.10CPM needed on every pageview of their brand unsafe inventory to get anywhere near break-even on that valuation, assuming even that they double twice more.

    What’s the longterm strategy here?