The teenage marketplace for apps is a troublesome nut to crack and keep related in. Simply ask Snapchat. Equally, teenagers are going by a stage in life the place virtually each social interplay appears to hold portent of some form of different. This is able to clarify partially why apps like SendIt, NGL, and Nocapp (some are Snapchat related instruments) took off as methods for teenagers to anonymously touch upon one another. And AskFM would in all probability like us all to overlook the assorted suicides that occurred when it was launched in its preliminary type, again within the day. (And also you thought Instagram is dangerous for psychological well being…).
In the meantime, by some means (by some means!?) a brand new startup has appeared with the concept that one more app goes to assist this dumpster fireplace of social interactions, however let’s hear them out earlier than leaping to conclusions.
“Slay” payments itself as a “optimistic social media community for youngsters”. The rationale we’re speaking about it at this time is that it’s grown like a weed after launching final yr in Germany, the place it reached No 1 on the German iOS App Retailer 4 days after launch. It’s now claiming to have over 250,000 registered customers and claims its gaining traction in different international locations together with the UK, the place it just lately launched.
So what’s the attraction right here? When customers open the app it exhibits customers 12 questions which the person can solely reply by selecting one other person (from their college, class or peer group) to pay an nameless praise to (or “slay”). For instance, the app could ask a person “Who evokes me to do my greatest?”. They’ll then select from 4 different customers from their college to pay this ‘slay’ to. They’ll then view compliments from different children, supplied they reply the 12 questions when logging on. The identification of those that despatched the praise stays hidden.
This jogs my memory of BeReal’s mechanic, the place you may solely see different individuals’s BeReal photographs by importing your personal.
And Slay can be not dissimilar to Gasoline, the messaging platform standard amongst teenagers for its optimistic spin on social media, acquired by Discord yesterday. On Gasoline, nameless polling is meant to spice up customers’ confidence.
The opposite purpose Slay has popped onto the TC radar, is that its progress has attracted the curiosity of VCs.
It’s now raised a $2.63m (€2.5m) pre-seed funding spherical led by Accel. Additionally collaborating was 20VC. Further traders together with Supercell Co-Founder and CEO Ilkka Paananen, Behance founder Scott Belsky, soccer star Mario Götze, Kevin Weil (Scribble Ventures) and musician Alex Pall (The Chainsmokers).
Slay says it’s aiming to reset the teenager relationship with social apps by re-balancing issues away from the detrimental sentiments on social platforms, by normalising the giving of compliments. It additionally says it’s been designed with security, content material moderation and teenage psychological wellbeing in-built. We will see…
Digging into the app, one can see that it’s been constructed very merely as a ‘praise app’. Whether or not that’s going to be sufficient to maintain customers coming again is tough to say. Teenager behaviour is tough to second guess. Getting zero also can ship a ‘sign’, as an illustration.
Suffice it to say, Slay claims it is going to “by no means promote or share private knowledge with third events.” Given the historical past of social apps, let’s see how lengthy this lasts.
There’s additionally no direct messaging facility, though customers will be capable of add hyperlinks to social media profiles, so clearly they are going to be ready message one another finally, off-app.
Adults are supposedly not allowed to ‘be part of’ faculties, and approximate location is requested for to counsel close by faculties. Any questions and interactions are requested by the app, not by customers themselves.
SLAY was based in 2022 by a workforce of three 23-year previous, Berlin-based co-founders: Fabian Kamberi, Jannis Ringwald and Stefan Quernhorst. The thought was Kamberi’s, who had been constructing shopper apps since he was an adolescent, and says he was impressed by the experiences of his siblings struggled with the negativity of social media apps in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
CEO and Co-founder Kamberi, informed me by way of electronic mail: “We see Slay sooner or later not solely as an nameless polling app [referring to the aforementioned Gas], however because the go-to spot for teenagers to rediscover social interactions in numerous play modes.”
“Our app is just like Gasoline, and their acquisition exhibits an incredible proof of what now we have constructed and what’s in retailer for the longer term in our area. Nevertheless, apps that rely solely on nameless Q&A, for instance, carry a excessive cyberbullying threat, which – in contrast – we forestall by our rigorous content material moderation in addition to specifically designed gamemodes,” he added.
However the query is, why does he assume a social app can enhance psychological well being when so many social apps haven’t?
“We’ve obtained hundreds of suggestions messages from customers thanking us for making them really feel valued in occasions of fast paced, detrimental social media interactions,” he informed me.
He mentioned the startup might effectively ship new options which could create extra engagement however on the identical time it would carry a threat for negativity: “So we focus very a lot on the person expertise that every person has, aiming to make it as optimistic as potential.” He mentioned the startup’s job is “content material security.”
So what’s Slay’s enterprise mannequin? How will it earn a living? Kamberi says it is going to possible be premium options, companies or instruments which customers pay for: “We’re presently constructing a number of unique, paid play modes in addition to add ons, which we’ll launch by suggestions cycles with customers and supported by knowledge.”
SLAY is offered in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the UK.
Julien Bek, Principal at Accel, added by way of an announcement: “We’re extraordinarily impressed by the SLAY app, each in its quick reputation amongst youngsters and the workforce’s optimistic purpose of bettering teenage psychological well being within the digital world. Already, the SLAY workforce has seen virtually half its lively customers use it each college day.”