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Locket founder Matt Moss and his girlfriend Ava Thompson, who he says inspired the app. Photo from Locket.

Chasing TikTok: Investor Fever for Rival Photo Apps Ebbs

Photo: Locket founder Matt Moss and his girlfriend Ava Thompson, who he says inspired the app. Photo from Locket.

Last year, investors competed fiercely to fund the next TikTok. This year, though, they haven’t been willing to pay as much for shares in young apps that might turn into the next social media stars.

Take Locket Labs, the seven-person startup behind an app that allows users to share photos directly to their friends’ home screens. Locket has raised $12.5 million from investors, mostly through a round in April led by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman that valued the startup at $100 million, including the new capital, according to two people with knowledge of the deal. On a per-user basis, that price appears to be far less than what investors paid last year for shares of other buzzy photo-sharing apps that had recently launched, such as BeReal, Poparazzi and Dispo, according to The Information’s analysis.

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