Whisper has closed a $US36 million Series C round of financing and its app has been totally redesigned. Tencent, Thrive Capital, and Shasta Ventures invested with participation from existing investors Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
Re/code first reported Whisper’s round of financing in March but said the amount was a lower $US30 million.
The anonymous secret-sharing app now allows users to search for posts by categories and location. Unlike its competitor, Secret, Whisper does not allow you to see messages from people in your mobile contact list. Founder and CEO Michael Heyward says his app will never have this feature; Whispers aren’t meant to be traced back to the posters. They’re meant to get things off your chest in a safe, anonymous place.
The revamped app has been in the works for the past four months, and the finished product is all about making content searchable and personalised for users. When a user creates a post on Whisper — usually a sentence or two long with a Whisper-populated image — Whisper sorts out the text on its backend and automatically creates tags for the content. As soon as the person publishes a Whisper, the app shows related Whispers based on those tags.
For example, if you post about getting married, Whispers related to getting married will pop up on your feed.
If you want to personalise the app further, you can click the location icon in the top right corner of the app and find relevant Whispers written by people located near you.
“It’s a monumental thing we’ve done here,” says CEO Michael Heyward. “We figure out which Whispers are similar to what you’re talking about then and there, in the moment. Then we do some background magic to serve those posts to you. Whispers now connects people who are going through the exact same experience at the same time.”
Whisper houses content about almost everything — from confessions about infidelity to gory scenes written by soldiers to bored students in class. “We have every experience, thought or feeling that anyone has ever had,” Heyward says. “What I don’t think we were addressing in previous versions of the app was making all that content easy to surface.”
Whisper has raised $US60 million to date and the app is generating billions of app views per month. The last reported number was 3 billion monthly app views, and Heyward says that number is now “much higher.”
Here’s what the newly designed app looks like.
Search for Whispers posted by people in your area. Whisper won’t give you any more identifying information about the person who posted it.
You can also search by category, such as “family” or “military.”
You can also search by category for local posts.
You can post a Whisper just like before, but then something cool happens…
A bunch of related Whispers show up, without you having to tag your post or search.
Other users can respond to your Whisper with other Whispers. These four popped up within minutes.
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