Chatous, a social messaging app that has been around since November 2012, is today closing a $2.1 million seed round led by General Catalyst, with participation from XSeed Capital and Slow Ventures. General Catalyst’s Kevin Colleran will join the board.
The whole idea behind Chatous is that folks want to talk about what they’re interested in, whenever they’re interested in it. With the app, or the web client, users have an anonymous handle to chat from with people who want to talk about the same topic.
Unlike Twitter, where you can obviously search hashtags and participate in a wide-scale conversation, Chatous focuses on one-to-one communication.
For example, I love football. But I work with a bunch of tech guys, very few of whom care, and am friends with people who just aren’t that into sports. Sundays watching football can get lonely. But I could hop on Chatous and start talking about games, coaching decisions, and prepping for next year’s fantasy season with someone who actually cares.
Though the content is private to the conversation and never shared publicly, Chatous stays away from the ephemeral play. Chatous, according to the company, has found a way to engage longer-term conversations between their users, who are presumably strangers.
In fact, today the company announced that over two billion messages have been sent through the platform and the app has been downloaded more than three million times, though the company is shy about monthly active figures.
Each profile comes with a short bio, but no profile photos are on the service.
“We put a lot of energy into moderation,” said cofounder Parth Bhakta. “We want this to be a safe environment, and a lack of broadcast functionality helps that, but we work hard to ensure there is no spam or anything. We don’t want anyone to feel vulnerable when they use the app.”
Bhakta also said that one of the greatest challenges for the app is spreading the word. Without any ‘find-your-friends’ functionality, “we have to hope that the experience is good enough that you will tell your friends about it in person,” he said.
You can learn more about Chatous here.