Vertical social networks pick up in startup ecosystem

Yatti Soni | | Updated on: Feb 02, 2022

Uable, Zorro and Ultimate battle are some examples of this growing phenomenon 

Increasingly the startup ecosystem is seeing a rise of vertical social networks, which are either focused on a particular age group or a common need. Companies such as Uable, social network for teenagers, Zorro pseudonymous social network and Ultimate battle, social network for gamers are some examples of this growing phenomenon. 

Founded by Saurabh Saxena (who formerly co-founded Vedantu), Uable app brings together content, community and e-commerce exclusively for teens. Talking about the need for another social network when there already exists platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, Saxena told BusinessLine, “our whole thought process is that the next 8-10 years belong to vertical networks. Networks that focus on one need for a large set of audience or one focused age group. Teens have a very focused mindset, they feel they are neither adults nor kids right now - so they deserve a space to speak about their issues, their likes and dislikes and engage in content that is relevant for them. That has been our biggest calling for us.”

Uable has 250,000 teenagers using the platform and are projecting to acquire 1 million users in the next three to four months. 40 per cent of teenagers on the platform are from Tier 1 cities and remaining from Tier 2, 3 cities. 

Jasveer Singh, Abhishek Asthana and Deepak Kumar have started a pseudonymous social network, to create a safe space for people to express themselves. Singh believes that when it comes to existing social networks such as MySpace, Twitter etc — people are always dealing with weighing their thoughts twice before posting, so the brutal truth never comes out and people are unable to speak freely. While there have been certain platforms like Sarahah, which have tried solving for this but the problem was bullying and objectionable discussions. 

“So we thought negativity is the only problem and we can address that. Apart from that everything is good. So what we did is basically build a green fence network, so when you join Zorro, you sync your contact list and twitter following. This helps in ensuring that the content you see on your timeline is mostly coming from a person you admire,” he added. In December 2021, Zorro raised a $3.2 million seed round from 16 unicorn founders and others. 

Community and gaming networks

Vertical social networks have also helped people setup companies build engaged communities around a particular use-case such as fitness and gaming. For instance, Fitness app, Fittr has built a community of over 4 lakh members and records an engagement rate of 80 per cent in the community on a daily basis. It’s an open platform to discuss and address queries pertaining to the people’s fitness and nutritional needs.

“Social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook are a great way to network with like-minded individuals and help connect with audiences across the globe. However, this is not ideal in the health/fitness industry as misinformation becomes the centre stage, and people share a lot of fad diets and myths without proper regulation. Hence, a platform like Fittr acts as an ideal platform for anyone who is looking for information on health and fitness or a better lifestyle,” said Jitendra Chouksey, Founder and CEO of Fittr. 

Similarly, a vertical network for gamers, Ultimate Battle envisions to provide the gaming community with an ecosystem that becomes a one-stop experience for gamers. 

“Besides provisioning gameplay, we wanted to enable gamers to engage with each other and be a part of the active gaming community. There is no doubt that platforms like Discord and Youtube bring gamers from across the world together but every platform has its specific use cases. Social networking on Ultimate Battle does not only act as a tool for gamers to interact and share gaming content with each other, but players will also be able to showcase their achievements using custom gaming profiles powered by players’ game performance tracking. Social networking features include Game Hubs where players will receive the latest updates, tips and tricks, and much more,” said Tarun Gupta, Founder, Ultimate Battle. The company has a registered player base of around 3.5 lakhs on the platform and 54,000 monthly active users.

Published on February 02, 2022
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