Yik Yak
By David Z. Morris
April 29, 2017

The leaders of Yik Yak, a messaging app briefly in vogue on college campuses, have announced that the app will shut down over the course of the next week. The announcement comes after efforts at a sale first reported by Fortune’s Erin Griffith ended with Square acquiring the company’s engineering team for less than $3 million.

Back in 2014, after its app experienced a period of huge user growth, a $73.5 million funding round valued the company at $400 million.

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But those users were primarily interested in the platform’s promise of anonymity. That could have meant long-term challenges to serious monetization, and also led to incidents of abuse and bullying.

When the company last year began to push users to adopt persistent handles, the reaction was broadly negative. By December, the company had laid off 60% of its workers and was attempting to pivot.

Though Square has adopted its engineers, founders Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington wrote in their parting message that they will be “tinkering around with what’s ahead for our brand, our technology, and ourselves,” suggesting that they still control what remains of the company. Yik Yak’s mascot, in particular, remains recognizable – though that’s probably not enough to get all of those investor dollars back.

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