Michael Heyward

Founder, CEO, Whisper

For sharing people's secrets.

Like Snapchat and bitcoin, Whisper is designed to keep digital footprints to a minimum. App users type out a short, often confessional message, overlay it on a related image, and share it anony­mously (there are no user profiles or friends to follow) with the Whisper community.

You can "heart" Whispers, privately message other users, or respond with your own Whispers, a model that's transformed the two-year-old service into a viral powerhouse. "It's not about whether you think Whisper is going to be a multibillion-dollar company," explains CEO Michael Heyward, "but whether you think anonymity is going to be a big deal." Sounds like it already is, with millions of users each averaging 30 minutes a day on the platform, ­fluttering through a whopping 3.5 billion page views per month—roughly ­double what the New York Times' site receives per quarter.

[Photo by David Black}

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