(Founder Stories) Lauren Leto: Texts From Last Night Was A Million Dollar Idea, Bnter Is Next
As a law student, Lauren Leto and her friends started Texts From Last Night, a site where they could anonymously posts real text messages about their exploits going out at night. It turns out a lot of people could relate, and when they opened up the site to anyone to contribute, it became a Web sensation. Today, the site attracts 4 million people a month, 5,000 to 15,000 submissions a day, and the 99-cent iPhone app has been downloaded a million times. It also spurred a book deal for Leto. Not bad for a bootstrapped startup site that only took $20,000 in capital to get off the ground.
In the Founder Stories video above, Leto tells host Chris Dixon how Texts From Last Night got started and how she quit law school to move to New York City from Detroit. She ended up in Brooklyn at the Makery, a co-working space with other startups, which she talks about as well.
In the second video below, Leto gets into her latest startup, Bnter, which is a way to capture text messages and publish them publicly. In that sense, it is the opposite of Texts From Last Night. Or, as Leto puts it, Bnter is “Texts From Last Night pulled inside out. Texts From Last Night by its very nature needs to be anonymous, otherwise it will ruin your career.” Bnter, which has its own iPhone app and which raised money from Dixon’s Founder Collective among others (disclosure: he is an investor), is more about capturing interesting moments. Leto compares it to a social photo app, except its textual. It will also work with Twitter conversations. “Anywhere you are having a conversation we want to capture it,” she says.