Innovation That Matters

Yubo aims to make social media more like a real-life social occasion, and less like a platform for influencers | Photo source Steve Gale on Unsplash

French social media app with gaming model targets teen market

Computing & Tech

Rather than post content for mindless clicking, Yubo allows users to share chat rooms and have video, audio or text exchanges

Spotted: French social media app Yubo has recently raised €40 million in funding to add functionality and help further global expansion. The app is tailored for teens and young adults and focuses on mimicking real-life social interactions. Rather than post content for mindless clicking, the app allows users to share chat rooms and have video, audio or text exchanges.

The app does not offer likes or followers and has no influencers. Instead, the app focuses on just spending time with peers, chatting or playing a group game like Pictionary or “would you rather”. Most of the people who interact on the app don’t know each other in real life, and 80 per cent are aged 16 to 21. It also offers safety features such as age verification and real-time intervention, which help make it a safe social space for Gen Zers to hang out.

Rather than selling advertising and user data, Yubo makes money with a gaming model. This allows users to access the basic app for free, and pay extra for premium features such as the ability to temporarily move their chat group to the top of Yubo’s home page. A monthly subscription to premium features costs are $10 (€8.44), with individual features priced at around $2 (€1.6). This model also keeps influencers off the app and encourages genuine interactions.

Yubo’s creator, 27-year-old Sacha Lazimi has said that the company’s “vision hasn’t changed: we want to create a place where young people can relax, have a nice time, discover the world, but also discover themselves.” Investor Jerry Murdock, the co-founder of Insight Partners, explains that Yubo, “manages the difficult task of connecting with Gen Z all around the globe. … I strongly believe its innovative approach to socializing online will make it the must-have social space of tomorrow.”

Insight and other investors recently participated in a Series C funding round that raised €40 million to help Yubo add functionality and expand into Asia and elsewhere. Yubo joins a growing number of platforms that aim to focus more on the social aspect of social media. These include a platform that organises younger climate activists and an employee engagement platform that encourages workplace diversity.

Written By: Lisa Magloff

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