BlockChalk, the anonymous location-based social networking service, just announcedthat it is now a venture-backed startup. BlockChalk's investors include Battery Ventures, Mitch Kapor, Harrison Metal, Founder Collective, Joshua Schachter, Josh Stylman, Tom McInerney, and David Liu. The company, which focuses on giving neighborhoods a forum to share information, plans to use its new funding to hire more engineers and expand its service aggressively.
As the LBS market expands, BlockChalk stands out from many of its competitors, as it allows users to post on local message boards without having to sign up for the service or reveal their location. Instead, discussions on BlockChalk are completely anonymous, which takes away many the privacy concerns that consumers have with the current crop of location-based mobile apps.
The anonymity that is at the core of BlockChalk's feature set leaves the service open to abuse. As BlockChalk works with its new venture backers, it will be interesting to see if the service will stick to this approach or if BlockChalk will move to a more traditional model.
The service is currently most popular in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, but it is not clear how many active users BlockChalk current has.
The New Frontier for Location-Based Networks: Your Neighborhood
As the company's founders note in today's announcement, BlockChalk wants to "help people connect with their neighbors and mobilize their local communities." A number of other ventures, including DeHood, have launched neighborhood-focused LBS apps recently. Most of these have a relatively clear business model (mostly focused on working with local businesses and providing coupons to users). BlockChalk doesn't have a clear business model yet.