Deep Dive #3 - A new age of Consumer Social

Digital social interaction are about to get a whole lot interesting

Hey everyone!

Startup Exchange Deep Dive is a newsletter sharing interesting links and resources we find about various topics in the startup world. We also hope to provide opportunities for people looking to break into startups and tech.

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This week we will be diving into the new wave of consumer social products and creator-led products. 

It’s poppin in the Club(house)! 🏠

If you haven’t heard, the audio based social platform Clubhouse has been making rounds over the past month. 

From a16z leading their Series B round to being banned by China, things are moving fast for the company.

The reason why the company is a big deal is because it allows people to subvert mainstream sources of news and media and hear directly from the source in a way they have never been able to before. Why read news to hear about the Robinhood $GME scandal, when you could hear Elon Musk interview the Robinhood CEO himself? 

Although there is substantial potential for Clubhouse to disrupt the current media and entertainment industry, it’s very much in the early days of audio social. Only time will tell if Clubhouse is more like a MySpace as opposed to a Facebook.

Dispo, the anti-Instagram 📸

Instagram was started as a means to seamlessly share photos and videos with friends and family. In years past however, many have criticized the platform for optimizing for user retention over user wellbeing

Well the new social app Dispo has come to the rescue. The venture is unique in the sense that it’s rise has mainly been due to its association with internet celebrity David Dobrik and could start a trend of successful creator-led products. 

Dispo is meant to provide a photo sharing platform that is not driven by likes and comments. Furthermore, the process of “developing” the pictures as if they were pictures from a disposable camera elicits delayed gratification (completely opposite of current social media apps). 

With the beta reaching a max capacity of users last week, leading venture funds such as Sequoia Capital and a16z are already valuing the company at $100M. Guess those of us without access just have to wait and see if the hype is real. 

Parsec - New Age gaming? It’s here 🕹

Gaming in the cloud? The ability to play the most demanding titles, regardless of the limitations of our own hardware. That was the dream of On Live back in 2010, but they weren’t able to succeed. Since 2016 Parsec has tried to rewrite the narrative of being able to effortlessly play games with others.  

Parsec is a proprietary freeware desktop capturing application primarily used for playing games through video streaming. Using Parsec, a user can stream video game footage through an Internet connection, allowing one to run a game on one computer but play it remotely through another device. 

Though Parsec began with gaming, they have now expanded beyond on-demand gaming to other use cases as well such as workplace collaboration. The company launched Parsec for Teams this year, which offers the same low-latency remote experience, while also adding features like encryption, group permissions and collaboration on the same file.

They recently raised $25M in their Series B fund with this round being led by Andreesen Horowitz bringing its total valuation to $33M.

HONK, a new way to text 📱

Honk aims to make messaging with friends a more interactive, real-time experience. As opposed to traditional texting, friends on Honk communicate via messages that are shown live as you type, with no saved chat history and no send button. 

Social media apps like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat have so many various features on their platforms that sometimes they overlook how they can develop and personalize messaging. Honk focuses on doing exactly that. It’s live typing experience is reminiscent of earlier softwares like Google Wave, while they’ve stolen a page from Twitter’s playbook by having a 160 character limit for messages. 

Honk Founder, Benji Taylor calls this an attempt to make texting less spam and a more “inclusive” activity between two people. Honk is backed by some big names including AngelList Founder, Naval Ravikant

There’s no doubt that Honk has changed the rules when it comes to online messaging but will this shift away from classical texting be as innovative and disruptive as Snapchat’s disappearing chats, only time will tell. 



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