Mike Isaac and David Gelles, writing for the NYT Bits blog:

After the flurry of attention and just a few months later, Secret opted to raise another round of financing, this time seeking $25 million. Bill Maris, managing partner of Google Ventures, did not think it was a good idea and the company did not participate.

“We advised them against it,” Mr. Maris said in an interview, referring to Secret’s leaders. “We told them they didn’t need the money. And raising that much money that soon, it was going to be impossible to meet the expectations in the future.” […]

The company completed its $25 million financing led by Index Ventures and Redpoint Ventures, along with a variety of individual angel investors. In that round, the two founders each wanted to take $3 million off the table for themselves, a practice that is commonplace for more mature companies, but less so for very young start-ups.

“It’s like a bank heist,” Mr. Maris said. “That’s not how you do a start-up.”

Later in the day, in an email to Isaac he posted publicly on Medium, Bill Maris wrote:

I want to correct and amend a few things. I wanted to let you know how my views had evolved since we spoke. […] I do want to make clear that this was not a “bank heist,” and that was a poor choice of words on my part.

That implies that the founders were trying to line their pockets at the expense of others. After having a heart to heart with David, I don’t think that’s true. David rightly pointed out to me that he and Chrys worked extremely hard. They built something that captured the imagination of a lot of people and had a huge amount of users. The tone and content of my comments as printed don’t pay the appropriate respect to that fact.

I don’t know what motivated him to speak so openly to The Times, but I know which one of his views sounds more honest to me, and it isn’t the “evolved” one.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015