Yik Yak will be shutting down its anonymous chat app in the next week as the school year draws to a close, the company announced on Friday.
The anonymous chat app used to be valued at $US4oo million after raising more than $US73 million in venture capital.
At its prime, Yik Yak was considered the darling of the anonymous messaging space, having attracted a young user base of college students that would compulsively open the app multiple times a day to stay informed. However, Yik Yak had trouble enticing people to stick around, especially as Snapchat took off.
“We were so lucky to have the most passionate users on the planet. It’s you who made this journey possible,” the founders said in their good-bye note. “The time has come, however, for our paths to part ways, as we’ve decided to make our next moves as a company.”
The app will be winding down at the end of the school year, the founders, Brooks Buffington and Tyler Droll, said. Some of the engineering talent will be joining Square at their office in Atlanta after Bloomberg reported that the payments company had spent $US3 million to bring on some of the engineering team.
Founded in 2013, Yik Yak at first grew rapidly as high schoolers and college students latched onto the anonymous messaging app. However, the company faced problems with harassment and bullying in the app and never quite found a good way to combat it. Last August, it made a move to do away with anonymous and add real profiles, but it never took off in the same way again. Yik Yak laid off 60% of its team at the end of 2016.
Now, Yik Yak will be shuttering the app as what’s left of the company starts “tinkering around with what’s ahead for our brand, our technology, and ourselves.”
“Building Yik Yak — both the app you used and the company that powered it — was the greatest, hardest, most enjoyable, most stressful, and ultimately most rewarding experience we’ve ever had,” the founders said.
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