History of Secret App
J Thoendell stashed this in Apps
Last summer, employees at the start-up Secret gathered in their new offices in downtown San Francisco, waiting for the founders to address the company. Secret had recently raised $25 million to work on its smartphone app, which lets users anonymously share information with groups of friends and connections.
But the news had broken that David Byttow and Chrys Bader, the founders of Secret, had sold part of their stake in the company for $6 million and that Mr. Byttow later bought a Ferrari. The founders did not initially tell the employees about the sale; instead, some of them found out on Secret.
Although Mr. Byttow and Mr. Bader reassured workers at the meeting that they were dedicated to the company, it was a turning point, said people close to Secret, who spoke on condition of anonymity. It shook the confidence of some workers, they said: If the founders had taken money off the table, it could mean they were protecting themselves against Secret’s failing.
Many close watchers of Secret have seen the writing on the wall for some time. In the last six months, nearly all of Secret’s top engineering employees have gone to other companies, including Uber, Airbnb and Twitter.
In December, Secret redesigned its app to look much like Yik Yak, a competitor, in hopes of attracting more users. It did not work, and use declined further, two people with knowledge of the figures said. Subsequently, Mr. Bader left Secret over differences about what it should become.
Closing Secret “has been the hardest decision of my life and one that saddens me deeply,” Mr. Byttow wrote on Wednesday. “Unfortunately, Secret does not represent the vision I had when starting the company, so I believe it’s the right decision for myself, our investors and our team.”
Mr. Byttow’s once-prized red Ferrari is also gone, a person with knowledge of the matter said.
Stashed in: Secret!