We’ve all been there. A peaceful ride on MARTA turns sour when some loud bastard proceeds to shout at a decibel level close to that of a Formula 1 engine. As you scan your fellow travelers, everyone has a facial expression that suggests they are just as annoyed as you are. Wouldn’t you like to know what they’re thinking and voice your opinion as well? With the anonymous messaging app Yik Yak, you can do just that.
Originally launched in Greenville, SC in November 2013, it only took six months for Yik Yak to become one of the top ten most downloaded social media apps out there. Founded by Furman University graduates Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington, the app has a strong base of users on over 1,500 college campuses. By initially targeting universities, Droll and Buffington brilliantly tapped into three common characteristics of students: they share similar experiences in their close knit communities, they want their voices to be heard, and they are early adopters of technology.
Part of that growth they attribute their previous home, Atlanta Tech Village, for giving them a ton of resources. Being based out of Atlanta, “has given us an X factor in this market,” says Lead Community Developer, Cameron Mullen. This location allowed the app to spread quickly to other universities in the South East. As a wildly popular social platform, it’s unique to the city. They recently raised $61 million in capital, are moving to a new 17k sq ft office at Piedmont Center in Buckhead, and have multiple job openings.
How does it work? According to their website, “Yik Yak is an anonymous messaging app that allows users to create and view posts – called yaks – within a 10 mile radius.” “You can think of it as a local, anonymous Twitter or a local virtual bulletin board,” explained co-founder Tyler Droll in a recent interview with Time Magazine. By yaking, you “get a live feed of what’s going on around you,” their website says. The app utilizes location technology and its main selling point is that users can share their thoughts, while keeping their privacy. Popular yaks rise to the to the top with upvotes and unpopular posts are shunned with downvotes (a similar system to Reddit).
I downloaded Yik Yak this morning and scrolled through my feed. Given the fact that I reside in Atlanta’s Grant Park neighborhood, I half expected to see yaks about kale and Nissan Leafs. Instead, the main source of my feed was the Georgia Tech campus. Some of the past 12 hours’ top Yaks were:
“Today’s forecast: High chance of being screwed by school. Low chance of finding a significant other.”
“Georgia Institute of Tears.”
“Dear girl in front of me, we all saw you walk into that wall while trying to cut corners. True story.”
Yik Yak doesn’t just have campuses buzzing, but it’s also excited investors. It was recently valued between $300m and $400m, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company is now focused on branding, and fostering “positive, diverse, and productive communities,” according to Mullen. Download Yik Yak today for iPhone at the App Store and at the Google Play Store for Android and, “Ride the Yak.”