Funding Bubble? Yes.
Months ago I had been using Whatsapp and thought it was good but not great. One key thing missing was knowing whether the person saw your message or not, like it does on BBM. Soon Kik launched and had the promise of blowing Whatsapp out of the water. Shoot, it was founded by key guys from the BBM team, good sign right?
Well, I tried the Kik after it launched with that heavy, and I mean very heavy, press coverage. What happened? Kik didn’t work that great, especially with the initial load on their system, so I decided to go back to Whatsapp. Simply put, it lost the bake off.
Bear with me as this story continues. While Whatsapp was missing the “read” message feature that Kik launched with, I decide to write in Whatsapp and tell them they won the bake off against Kik (congrats!) but was curious when they might update their app with the “read” feature that Kik had. I happened to get a response from Whatsapp hours later.
Their response: “What’s Kik?”. I figured…hmm, can’t be good if you don’t know you have a new competitor with heavy backing and coverage and huge initial growth but okay. Maybe it’s asking too much but I’d at least expect them to know about it but Whatsapp wasn’t funded by anyone and seemed to be just humming along.
Well not anymore. Whatsapp recently raised $8 million in funding from Sequoia among others. 8 million! And they didn’t even know who Kik was! Am I expecting too much from a startup or is it kinda worrisome that their response to my question was so…blank?