Suit: App Makers Ditched Partner— at Parents' Request

Former fraternity brothers wrangle over Yik Yak
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2014 12:11 PM CST
Suit: App Makers Ditched Partner— at Parents' Request
A screen shot from the Yik Yak site.   (

A year ago, three fraternity brothers released a social app called Yik Yak, which has gone on to nab some $85 million in venture capital. But one of the Furman University guys, Douglas Warstler, isn't seeing that money after the other two pushed him out, according to a lawsuit. Tyler Droll offered Warstler a reason for the ouster, the suit says: "I spoke with my parents over the holidays. They are making me get this settled before continuing to fund it." The lawsuit calls the move "a case of betrayal by greedy co-founders of a tech start-up," Gawker reports. The app was developed by Locus Engineering, a company owned by all three, the suit says, but Droll and Brooks Buffington dissolved that company and started a new one "to cover things up and erase any evidence of Plaintiff's ownership" after the app started getting popular.

They had previously offered to buy him out, saying, "You’re not getting screwed out of anything," the suit notes. Warstler, however, allegedly rejected the buyout, Forbes reports. Droll and Buffington proceeded to dissolve Locus without warning Warstler, the suit says. Warstler is seeking a third of Yik Yak as well as damages. Yik Yak, which allows anonymous postings to message boards, is nearly as popular as Snapchat, Gawker notes—and the two have more in common. Warstler is working with the same law firm that represented a co-founder of Snapchat, which was also created by a trio of fraternity brothers, in a similar case. Warstler "was responsible for Yik Yak going viral at Furman" when it first started in Oct. 2013, his lawyer says; Warstler was still a senior at the time, but Droll and Buffington had graduated. (More drama in the tech world: Tinder demoted its CEO in the wake of a sexual harassment lawsuit.)

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