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Former AOL executive launches Snapchat-like app for professionals

By Jennifer Saba

(Reuters) - Former AOL executive Jon Brod launched on Wednesday an app aimed at professionals who can send private messages that disappear once they are read.

The new company Confide takes a page from the highly popular Snapchat, the mobile app embraced by teens that allows users to exchange fleeting photos and messages.

"This is optimized for professionals and business people," said Brod, who co-founded Confide with Yext co-founder Howard Lerman and entrepreneur Dan Sutera.

The "off-the-record" messaging app can work in the place of confidential emails, phone conversations or communication through a personal email.

"It's up to the person, company and industry to understand and abide by compliance," Brod said.

A person can download the free app in the Apple App Store and connect with another through an email that directs the reader to the app.

There is no word limit set for messages though Confide reveals messages in about 25 characters as an added layer of protection against screen shots.

The idea for the app came about when Brod and Lerman played phone tag when trying to discuss a recommendation for a potential new hire for Lerman. The men didn't want a digital record of their conversation but it took six days to finally connect by phone.

For now, Brod, who is the co-founder of the news site Patch that was bought by AOL in 2009, said Confide is concentrating on attracting people to use the app rather than on revenue.

(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Stephen Powell)

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