David Byttow, the former founder and CEO of notorious Silicon Valley flop Secret, has a new company brewing, TechCrunch reports – and this time, he thinks he can crack the notoriously difficult business market.
Secret, an app that let you anonymously share your thoughts with the world, started off strong when it launched in 2014.
After gaining 15 million users, raising $35 million in venture funding, and drastically changing the product a few times, Byttow made the decision to shut down the year-old Secret. Most of the money was returned to investors, but Byttow and Chrys Bader-Wechseler had taken $3 million of the venture investment off the table for their personal coffers, and it’s not clear if they ever gave this money back.
Since Secret’s shutdown, Byttow has apparently been working on a project for Medium, the blogging platform cofounded by Twitter founder Ev Williams. Medium is expected to show off the results of that project at an event later this week.
Now, he’s free to go after his next big idea, which apparently involves something in the enterprise space, per that report.
Details are scarce, but Byttow told TechCrunch that more information will be forthcoming later this month.
- Secret/Business Insider
Cracking the enterprise market is a risky bet for any company: Businesses have stringent, exacting requirements for their software and app needs, are often slow to adopt new techologies, and demand high levels of support. Plus, there’s an old enterprise tech industry saying: “Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.” Which is to say, the momentum of established software is real and powerful.
Even the best, brightest, most-well-funded startups have a lot of trouble making the transition to a business software focus.
Reports indicate that Silicon Valley poster children like Dropbox and Evernote have both been struggling mightily to get enough business customers for their formerly consumer-focused products to justify their huge private valuations. Secret tried adding an enterprise feature called “Dens” for internal anonymous sharing before it went kaput.
There are exceptions, notably the $2.8 billion startup Slack.
Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield’s past experience had been in consumer web services (he sold Flickr to Yahoo for $35 million in 2005) and in video games (Slack started as an internal support tool for Glitch, an online multiplayer game). Yet Slack reportedly does annual revenue of $30 million, and it’s growing fast.
So, it’s possible for a founder with a consumer technology focus to shift gears and sell to the enterprise. But Secret’s very public rise and fall doesn’t instill a lot of confidence.
Byttow did not initially respond to a request for comment on this story.