The iMessage App Store may have its struggles, but one app aimed at bringing group video chat into the iMessage experience is reportedly taking off. Boston-based Smack, the company behind the video chat app called Fam, has raised $1.8 million in funding from a range of investors for its Top 25 Social Networking app on the App Store that allows groups to chat with one another via iMessage with just a few taps.
The round includes Flybridge capital (Jeff Bussgang), Boston Seed Capital (Peter Blacklow), NEA (Dayna Grayson), Bessemer Venture Partners (Byron Deeter and Anna Khan), Norwest Venture Partners (Edward Yip), Highland Capital (Bob Davis) and Social Capital (Arjun Sethi), along with personal investments from DraftKings board member Woodrow H. Levin, DraftKings founder Jason Robins, former Twitter exec Wayne Chang and former head of product at Twitter, Jeff Seibert.
The funding closed back in December, but Smack is only now announcing the details, ahead of a new app release aimed at improving Fam’s design and performance.
Founded in late 2013, Smack was originally focused on building a web-based social news service aimed at the high school crowd. According to Smack co-founder and CEO, Giuseppe Stuto, the website collected user-generated content submissions, like text and photos, all of which was curated by high school-aged journalists.
After expanding the service to 11,000 schools across the U.S. the startup raised $2 million from Flybridge Capital, Boston Seed Capital and Wayne Change (via his AngelList syndicate), among other angels.
Smack then launched its first chat app in late 2015, aimed at offering a social network of group chat as a means of redistributing its news content. The app saw some initial engagement, but never reached critical mass.
In 2016, Smack decided to look into video, given its popularity among its user base.
“We found there were two ends of the spectrum. One, being more private video hangouts like ooVoo and fledgling…