September 30, 2013

Ansa: Text friends safely, securely & without regret

Go ‘off the record’ when sharing sensitive messages

Target audience: Startups, network managers, college students, privacy experts, mobile users, educators, journalists, Web publishers.

JD LasicaMobile is taking over the world, as tens of millions of us migrate from desktops and laptops to smartphones and other mobile devices. Today I’m attending Launch Mobile in San Francisco to get a sense of the latest trends (see my tweets by following @jdlasica on Twitter). And earlier this month I attended TechCrunch Disrupt, where a number of young social and mobile startups were on display.

One of the startups that caught the eye of the judges was Ansa, a messaging app that gives you control over the messages you share. One judge called it “Snapchat for grownups.”

I interviewed co-founder and CEO Natalie Bryla in this 6-minute video:

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With interest in privacy growing, given what’s happening with the NSA and beyond, Ansa has found a market opportunity by focusing on the idea of giving control back to the user. Ansa — a five-person startup in San Francisco — lets you go “off the record” and have full conversations with friends or co-workers that will automatically disappear after a period of time you designate.

A ‘safe place to share and have fun with friends’

“Texts are too permanent,” Natalie says, so Ansa gives users “full control and the ability to pull things back at any time.” That includes texts, photos and videos that you share with someone else who’s using the app. She says anyone can use Ansa “to gossip, to complain about the boss” and to share personal notes or images without fear of reprisal or recrimination.

Who is Ansa targeting? College students at first. Their team is fanning out this fall to enlist campus organizations to integrate Ansa into their existing social networks.

One additional interesting twist: Ansa’s business model anticipates the use of “ephemeral ads” flash sales where you have 10 seconds to redeem a merchant’s offer. Could be interesting.

The ultimate vision, Natalie says, is “to just build a really safe place to share and have fun with friends.”

I think it’s not surprising that two women co-founders are at the helm of Ansa, given women’s generally higher awareness of and sensitivity to online security and privacy concerns.

An early version of Ansa is available for both Apple’s iOS and Android devices. Check it out and start communicating more securely!

JD Lasica, founder of, is now co-founder of the cruise discovery engine Cruiseable. See his About page, contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

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