The People Behind Blind
Blind is an anonymous messaging app for companies where employees can discuss compensation, corporate policies, workplace harassment, and more. The app is being used by tens of thousands of people at Amazon, Airbnb, Google, and about 1,000 other tech companies. The company originally started in Seoul, South Korea but is now based in San Francisco, CA.
Blind was founded in South Korea in 2014 modeled on the internal messaging board used by employees at Naver, the Korean version of Google. The app provides an outlet for people to discuss sensitive subjects that companies might otherwise try to suppress. On the flip side, it also provides a platform for spreading gossip about people who work at the company.
Similar apps, such as Whisper and Secret, have closed down after difficulty with bullying behaviour between users on the the platforms. Byttow, the CEO of Secret, said Secret's anonymity was great for "open communication and creative expression" but acknowledged this has been "the ultimate double-edged sword." The open question is whether anonymous company communication is somehow different than anonymous communication between teens and college students.
Blind moved to the US in the beginning of 2015 looking to infiltrate LinkedIn at their offices in Mountain View, CA. The “entitled techies” of Silicon Valley had heard the anonymous messaging pitch before and the pilot was a massive failure. Instead, the Blind team “packed their umbrellas” and headed to Seattle where Microsoft and Amazon are headquartered. Microsoft had a similar internal tool called Forum where employees could post anonymous questions and comments about stuff going on at the company. The problem was that it was affiliated with Microsoft and questionable how anonymous it really was. Blind used this as a platform to get “several hundred” employees at Microsoft to sign up in just a few weeks. The company never looked back.
Blind was co-Founded by Sunguk Moon who came up with the idea after he started working at South Korean search giant Naver in 2009. Moon has a background from three other startups including Wingbus, a travel review and reservation platform, that started in 2005 and was acquired by Naver in 2009.
The company now has users from more than 3,000 companies and has raised more than $6 million in funding. Time will tell if the app can stand the test of time or whether it will go the same way as Yik Yak, Whisper, Secret, and the other anonymous messaging apps.
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