The startup world is quite a thing. It could be described as an ever chaotic landscape of expansion and contraction as old startups fail and others rise to take their place. The number of industries is enormous with innovation being found in almost every field. Medical apps for pad devices, shopping apps for a smartphone, education programs for computer training, the list goes on. However, one such industry, the industry of social media, is commonly glossed over by the major innovations of others. Still, it would be unfair to say that this niche is stagnant.
Though not quite as awe inspiring as major technological evolutions or as convenient as mobile friendly personal shoppers, social media apps have their place in the startup world.
Yik Yak is one such social media startup, and, it is causing quite a ruckus.
The app itself is an anonymous social media app not unlike PostSecret or Whisper. YikYak allows users to anonymously create and view posts, called “Yaks”, within a 10 mile radius. Now, this app is different from the aforementioned anon-apps in that it is geared specifically toward the proximity of the user. This brings in the potential for user interaction, and, can allow “Yaking” to be a more intimate affair.
So far, YikYak has become the 9th most downloaded social media app, and has become a very popular app on college campuses across the United States. The startup has come under some scrutiny recently, with malicious posts raising questions and concerns about the prospect of bullying. A current issue in all scholastic and academic climes for the first world nation. However, such scrutiny has not served to impact the app’s popularity.
YikYak was founded by Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington, both graduates of Furman College in Greenville, South Carolina. To date, according to Crunchbase, the social media startup has amassed a total of over $73.5 million in investment capital, with $62 million coming from their recent Series B, which closed on November 24, 2014. The total valuation of Yik Yak has been estimated at over $350 million. An astounding benchmark considering the startup launched just under a year ago.
With the rise in major social media giant Facebook, watching smaller outlet such as YikYak is going to be an adventurous endeavor. It is clear that people are looking for a more intimate, more local niche than the current landscape can offer. The anonymous nature of YikYak is also appealing, allowing users to truly bare their thoughts and feelings free of retaliation. Though, as with anything there are risks, and with the current concerns about public humiliation and cyberbullying, it is going to be interesting to see how YikYak will respond. Will it bow to public opinion and commit to enforcing policy as other major networks have done? Is YikYak just another trend?
As always, the answers will come, in time.