Anonymish Chat App Wut Raises Seed Round From Foundation, Google Ventures

Now you see it, now you don’t.

Wut, part of a wave of ephemeral and anonymish apps that have cropped up over the last year or so, has raised seed funding from Foundation Capital with participation from Google Ventures. SV Angel, Eniac Ventures, Lowercase Capital, and Dave Morin’s Slow Ventures are also investors in the company.

Wut is an almost absurdly simple app that takes over the lockscreen. It’s basically just a text screen with a fluorescent background. You type in what you want to say, and then it shoots out as a push notification to all of your friends. You never reveal who you are, but it’s probably pretty easy to guess.

The messages are also not saved. You can only see as many notifications as your phone’s screen can fit without scrolling down. The experience is more like seeing passing chatter from friends that disappears quickly, rather than diving into a never-ending feed of content.

“We believe that things shouldn’t last forever,” said co-founder Paul McKellar, who came from Square’s founding team. “It’s the way that social software is going.”

Moreover, Wut is less of an app, and more of a layer on the phone. The content is consumed on the phone’s lockscreen, instead of requiring you to directly open an app. As Wut investor and former TechCrunch writer MG Siegler says, the push notifications are the content, not merely a representation of the content.

Apple seems to be strengthening that thinking with the latest preview of iOS 8, which lets consumers interact with or favorite content directly from the lockscreen.

With the new round of funding today, McKellar and his co-founder Beamer Wilkins are adding a major update with the ability to re-post comments from friends in a feature called ‘WUT WUT.’ They just wanted the ability to share and spread goofy chatter further.

What do people use ‘WUT’ for?

I’ve left it on for a few months and mostly, it’s just silly chat. Some people use it to chat about TV shows like House of Cards. McKellar and Wilkins say younger users don’t like the feeling of being alone. They want to be tethered to their friends constantly.

For now, Wut just has two people, but McKellar and Wilkins are looking to hire more engineers and build out an Android version.