Spark Capital has made a number of investments over the years in social networks. With investments in companies like Twitter, Boxee, ex.fm, Tumblr, Svpply, and gdgt, we’ve spent a lot of time focused on the ways people connect with each other publicly, and how those connections differ based on purpose.
Each of these companies represents a separate and unique graph that is specific to the purpose of the application. Twitter is a broadcasting tool, where the graph is defined by all the following relationships that fit the broadcast nature of the service. Similarly, Boxee is about media consumption, where the graph of connections between users is shaped by interest in what other users are watching and enjoying.
Today, we’re delighted to announce an investment in Kik, a lightweight messaging app that enables individuals and groups to communicate privately. By being private by nature, Kik focuses on a new graph unlike any prior investment we have made in the social networking space: a graph of strong social ties.
When all communication in a network is private, the connections that form between users are mutual and very deliberate. The people with whom I Kik are the people that I interact with everyday. The number of people I will communicate with on Kik will be smaller than a service like Twitter, but my connections will be more frequent, more immediately, and carry greater social importance to me.
The space for mobile messaging is noisy at this point, with a number of companies chasing after a similar set of users. So, why Kik?
Ted Livingston at Kik is an incredibly impressive entrepreneur, and I’m delighted we have the opportunity to work together over the coming years. His focus on exactly the feature set that matters for fostering a strong-ties network (and nothing more) is remarkable. Ted knows speed is one of the most important features, and he has great product instincts.
Why won’t an existing messaging network (like GChat or Skype) be the winner in the mobile space? It’s possible, but our thesis is by being a mobile-only social network, Kik has a distinct advantage over existing messaging networks: your phone is always on you. If you look at your buddy list on any existing network, typically 9 out of 10 users are offline or unavailable. By contrast on Kik, you can message anyone in your graph at any time, and you know that message will hit their phone. This immediacy is powerful, and can be interruptive, which further emphasizes why Kik is focused only on strong ties, where such an experience is acceptable.
We are happy to be working along side great co-investors in this round: RRE and Union Square Ventures. And we look forward to working with Ted as he continues to grow Kik. More thoughts from Fred, Bijan, Techcrunch…
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- langer said: Congrats! Also: love that Nabeel made the screenshot in Bijan’s post :)
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