Psst! The Founders Of Secret, The 6-Month-Old Startup Worth $100 Million, Just Pocketed $6 Million

secretSecret/Business Insider

Wouldn't it be nice to put in six months of work and make $6 million?

That just happened for the founders of Secret, a 6-month-old anonymous social networking app that raised $25 million at an eye-popping $100 million valuation earlier this month. During the round of financing, investors let founders David Byttow and Chrys Bader-Wechseler sell restricted stock in exchange for $6 million in cash, which sources say they split.

When asked about the new-found millions, Secret pointed to its Form D filing, which seems to confirm the $6 million deal. The form shows a total offering of $30.9 million, of which $24.9 was sold for cash and the remaining $6 million sold (or will be sold) "in exchange for securities of the issuer."

Secret co-founder David ByttowGoogle +Secret cofounder David Byttow

It may seem shocking for a 6-month-old startup to net its founders a few million dollars without any sort of exit. Actually, these days it's almost normal.

Allowing founders of hot startups to take money off the table has become a popular motivational tool in Silicon Valley. It encourages startups to think long term and as big as possible. It relieves some of the temptation to sell the company early, which could minimize return on investment.

The idea is to let founders breathe a little financial sigh of relief, but not give them enough that they start slacking off. Snapchat's founders, for example, took $10 million each during their last round of financing. In Secret's case, $3 million after taxes boils down to about $2 million - hardly enough for the young, ex-Googlers to throw in the towel (or even to afford a modest house in Silicon Valley).

"I'm seeing that happen more and more often," one investor said of Byttow and Bader-Wechseler's fundraise. "The founders are giving up a piece of the outcome they could have had. What you have to gauge as an investor giving them a deal like that is, will they be negatively motivated? As long as people are careful about those aspects, it can be fine to do. Every scenario is different. At a high level, I think it's best to keep motivation with employees."

form d secretSEC.govThe relevant part of Secret's Form D filing.

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