The founders of ask.fm are back with a new social network and plenty of seed funding.
The Riga-based social media start-up F3 has raised nearly 3.2 million euros in seed funding from the Mamba dating network (and its investor Mail.ru Group) and Adfirst VC.
F3 is a social media app aimed at the so-called Generation Z (young people born between the mid-1990s and the early 2010s) which, according to the company, enables users to communicate openly and honestly. Users can send each other photos, videos, and questions and then reply in a customised, media-rich format.
Since the app launch in 2018, F3 has attracted over 25 million users and tens of thousands are joining every day. The team behind F3 previously founded the highly successful ask.fm, a global Q&A-based social network with more than 150 million users that was eventually acquired by IAC/InteractiveCorp in 2014.
With its new social media effort, the company is looking to satisfy the needs of the current young generation — more than 85 per cent of those who use the app are younger than 25.
According to the company, F3 is a solution for the pitfalls of other social media apps, as studies have shown a link between social media use and loneliness, depression, fear of missing out and other negative consequences. All of these issues hit Generation Z the hardest. F3 believes it is searching for a more honest communication method.
“We see that our users create unique social circles of friends they’ve met only on F3, which reaffirms our conviction that Generation Z requires a different type of social network — one where they can socialise and make new friends just like in real life, where they form new communities and talk to each other in the same place where they post or consume content,” says Ilja Terebins, F3’s CEO and co-founder.
Just like with the previous social network that the team has worked on, users on F3 can choose to be anonymous. This way, F3 can provide candid and personal content as users post responses to only what others have asked for, replying to the received photos, videos, or text questions and messages. The company says that the anonymity encourages more honest, in-depth and personal contact.
While the team’s previous effort ask.fm has been tremendously successful in terms of attracting users and driving engagement, the app was often criticised for lacking anti-bullying measures.
This time around, F3 comes with tools and policies, including automatic content moderation, explicit photo and video detection, profanity filters, anonymity controls, and reporting and block mechanisms. All these efforts are geared toward making sure that users feel safe on the platform.
F3’s growth and potential have also attracted investors intimately familiar with the social network scene. Alex Hofmann, the former president of musical.ly (now known as Tik Tok) is among the backers in the company’s seed round.
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