German teenagers went loopy for this ‘compliments’ app, and now VCs are backing its subsequent part •

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 nearly each social interplay appears to hold portent of some sort of different. This might clarify partly 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 kind, again within the day. (And also you thought Instagram is unhealthy for psychological well being…).

In the meantime, in some way (in some way!?) a brand new startup has appeared with the concept yet one more app goes to assist this dumpster hearth of social interactions, however let’s hear them out earlier than leaping to conclusions.

Slay” payments itself as a “constructive social media community for youngsters”. The explanation we’re speaking about it at the moment is that it’s grown like a weed after launching final yr in Germany, the place it reached Number one 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 nations together with the UK, the place it just lately launched.

So what’s the attraction right here? When customers open the app it reveals customers 12 questions which the person can solely reply by selecting one other person (from their faculty, class or peer group) to pay an nameless praise to (or “slay”). For instance, the app might ask a person “Who conjures up me to do my finest?”. They’ll then select from 4 different customers from their faculty to pay this ‘slay’ to. They’ll then view compliments from different youngsters, offered 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’ll be able to solely see different folks’s BeReal pictures by importing your personal.

And Slay can also be not dissimilar to Fuel, the messaging platform well-liked amongst teenagers for its constructive spin on social media, acquired by Discord yesterday. On Fuel, nameless polling is meant to spice up customers’ confidence.

The opposite motive 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. Extra 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 unfavorable 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 inbuilt. 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 difficult to say. Teenager behaviour is difficult to second guess. Getting zero can even ship a ‘sign’, as an illustration.

Suffice it to say, Slay claims it would “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 may be 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 ultimately, off-app.

Adults are supposedly not allowed to ‘be part of’ colleges, and approximate location is requested for to counsel close by colleges. Any questions and interactions are requested by the app, not by customers themselves.

SLAY was based in 2022 by a group of three 23-year previous, Berlin-based co-founders: Fabian Kamberi, Jannis Ringwald and Stefan Quernhorst. The concept was Kamberi’s, who had been constructing client apps since he was a youngster, and says he was impressed by the experiences of his siblings struggled with the negativity of social media apps throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 
CEO and Co-founder Kamberi, advised me by way of e 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 varied play modes.”

“Our app is much like Fuel, and their acquisition reveals an amazing proof of what now we have constructed and what’s in retailer for the long run in our house. Nevertheless, apps that rely solely on nameless Q&A, for instance, carry a excessive cyberbullying threat, which – in contrast – we stop by our rigorous content material moderation in addition to specifically designed gamemodes,” he added.

However the query is, why does he suppose a social app can enhance psychological well being when so many social apps haven’t?

“We’ve got acquired hundreds of suggestions messages from customers thanking us for making them really feel valued in instances of fast-paced, unfavorable social media interactions,” he advised me.

He stated the startup may nicely ship new options which could create extra engagement however on the similar time it’d convey a threat for negativity: “So we focus very a lot on the person expertise that every person has, aiming to make it as constructive as attainable.” He stated the startup’s job is “content material security.”

So what’s Slay’s enterprise mannequin? How will it make cash? Kamberi says it would seemingly be premium options, providers or instruments which customers pay for: “We’re at present 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 accessible 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 rapid recognition amongst youngsters and the group’s constructive aim of enhancing teenage psychological well being within the digital world. Already, the SLAY group has seen nearly half its energetic customers use it each faculty day.”

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