Facebook wants tbh to be its next Instagram. Today, Facebook announced it’s acquiring positivity-focused polling startup tbh and will allow it to operate somewhat independently as it’s done with Instagram and WhatsApp.
tbh had scored 5 million downloads and 4 million daily active users in the past 9 weeks with its app that lets people anonymously answer kind-hearted multiple-choice questions about friends who then receive the poll results as compliments. The app has racked up over 1 billion poll answers since officially launching in limited states in August, mostly from teens and high school students, and spent weeks topping the free app charts.
When we profiled tbh last month in the company’s first big interview, co-creator Nikita Bier told us “If we’re improving the mental health of millions of teens, that’s a success to us.”
Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed but TechCrunch has heard the price paid was under $100 million and won’t require any regulatory approval. tbh’s four co-creators will join Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters while continuing to grow their app with Facebook’s cash, engerineering, anti-spam, moderation, and localization resources.
The tbh team wrote in an announcement post that “When we met with Facebook, we realized that we shared many of the same core values about connecting people through positive interactions. Most of all, we were compelled by the ways they could help us realize our vision and bring it to more people.”
In a statement to TechCrunch, Facebook wrote “tbh and Facebook share a common goal – of building community and enabling people to share in ways that bring us closer together. We’re impressed by the way tbh is doing this by using polling and messaging, and with Facebook’s resources tbh can continue to expand and build positive experiences.”
From 14 Failures To Facebook
Bier originally started tbh parent company Midnight Labs back in 2010. The app studio took a small seed round from investors including Greylock via partner Josh Elman, and tried a slew of products including a personal finance app, a college chat app, and a personality test. But nothing took off and Midnight Labs was running out of money.
The company decided to build something at the intersection of the positivity it saw lacking in anonymous apps like Secret and Yik Yak, and the honesty teens craved as seen in the TBH trend where social network users request candid feedback from their friends. tbh was born. “We shipped it to one school in Georgia. Forty percent of the school downloaded it the first day” said Bier. Now it will have Facebook to help it scale while it finds the next feature to keep teens engaged.