The Guild app, which offers messaging for professionals, pitches itself as the WhatsApp for work. Now it's has drummed up $1.2m in investment from its first funding round

Phone messaging

It calls itself the “WhatsApp for work”, and now the Guild app has raised $1.2m (£880,000) in investment.

The messaging app founded by Ashley Friedlein and Matthew O’Riordan is pitching itself at professionals looking to build relationships inside and outside their company.

The duo – who sold digital marketing agency Econsultancy to Centaur Media for £24m in 2012 – were two of the 28 investors who funded the app.

Chief executive Mr Friedlein said: “We think it is time professionals had a messaging app that is properly private, GDPR-compliant and designed just for work use.

“Research suggests there are already over half a billion people using WhatsApp for professional use and that’s the market Guild is going after.”

Professor Robin Dunbar, an Oxford psychologist famous for his “Dunbar’s Number” theory, has also invested in the app.

The Dunbar’s Number theory – which is covered in the famous Malcolm Gladwell book “Tipping Point” – suggests that a person can only hold stable relations with around 150 people.

Prof Dunbar said: “Over the years, I’ve been approached by many networking-type startups, but I have always declined to be involved because they all seemed to be simple marketplaces and lacked any sense of a social dimension.

“Guild is in a different league precisely because its focus is small scale and intensely social and pays much closer attention to the way natural human groups are organised.”


How Guild app works

Guild app
Guild says its user will be able to delete profiles and all their contributions, should they wish (Picture: Guild)

The Guild app will give users “total control” over their personal data, allowing them to delete their profiles and all contributions should they wish.

The app will send full copies of stored data to users on request in a similar fashion to other messaging apps and social networks.

There will also be no directory of members, public profiles or chat group listings available on the app.

Membership of the app will also be filtered – the only people able to join will be guild (group) founders and those invited to a guild.

According to the Guild app website, the ad-free service will launch in autumn this year.