The Top 9 Social Media Startups

Angelina Graumann

In the ever-evolving landscape of social media, a new wave of startups is making significant impacts on how we connect, share, and do business online. This article explores the top 9 social media startups, each bringing innovative solutions and fresh perspectives to the digital table. From empowering local entrepreneurs to reshaping global networking, these companies are not just riding the digital wave—they're making the waves. Join us as we unveil these game-changers, their groundbreaking approaches, and how they're sculpting the future of social interaction.

Related resource: The Ultimate Guide to Startup Funding Stages

1) Meesho

Meesho is a pioneering social commerce platform based in India that revolutionizes the traditional e-commerce model by integrating social media channels into the buying and selling process. This startup empowers individuals, particularly women, to start their own businesses with zero capital by facilitating their role as resellers to end customers via social platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram.

  • Headquarters Location: The company is headquartered in Bangalore, India. Known as the Silicon Valley of India, Bangalore offers a vibrant ecosystem that supports startups and technological innovation, making it an ideal base for Meesho.
  • Current Funding: Meesho has successfully raised approximately $1.1 billion in funding through several rounds, with major investors including Fidelity, Softbank, and Meta. Their latest funding was raised on Oct 13, 2023.
  • Years in Operation: Meesho has been operational for over eight years, during which it has significantly impacted the social commerce market in India.
  • Founders: Founded in 2015 by Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal, both alumni of IIT Delhi, co-founded Meesho. They started with the insight that many small merchants and individuals in India were already using WhatsApp informally to sell products and saw an opportunity to streamline and scale this process. Their vision was to make e-commerce accessible to everyone, especially those without the means to invest in inventory or setup traditional online stores​​​​.

2) ShareChat

ShareChat is a dynamic social media platform based in India that caters exclusively to the Indian audience by offering its services in several regional languages. It is designed to enable users to share content, such as videos, photos, and messages, fostering community and cultural connections in a language they are most comfortable with. The platform is especially popular among users in smaller cities and towns.

ShareChat has grown to incorporate various features tailored to its audience, including AI-driven content feeds that help users discover content without needing to follow others. This model is particularly effective for ShareChat's diverse and expansive user base​​.

  • Headquarters Location: ShareChat is headquartered in Bangalore, India. This location positions the company in a major hub for technology and startups, providing access to resources and talent in the country's Silicon Valley.
  • Current Funding: ShareChat has experienced robust growth in funding, having raised a total of $1.7 billion across 16 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Mar 27, 2024 from a Debt Financing round.
  • Years in Operation: Founded in 2015, ShareChat has been operational for about eight years, during which it has significantly expanded its user base and service offerings.
  • Founders: ShareChat was founded by three Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur alumni: Ankush Sachdeva, Bhanu Pratap Singh, and Farid Ahsan. The trio started the company with the vision of creating a social platform that supports India's vernacular languages, thus making digital content accessible to a broader segment of the population​​​​.

3) Hinge

Hinge brands itself as a relationship-oriented dating app that emphasizes long-term connections over casual encounters. It is popularly known as "the dating app designed to be deleted," aiming to facilitate meaningful matches that lead to lasting relationships. Hinge distinguishes itself with a user interface that prompts users to engage with specific content on other profiles, which helps initiate more thoughtful interactions.

Hinge's approach to dating is tailored to foster relationships rather than endless browsing, which has helped it carve out a unique niche in a crowded market. This focus on quality matches and encouraging users to get off the app has resonated well with a user base looking for more than just a casual dating experience​​​​​​​​.

  • Headquarters Location: Hinge is based in New York, USA, placing it in one of the country's main hubs for technological innovation and business, which supports its growth and operational capabilities.
  • Current Funding: Hinge is owned by Match Group, which also owns several other major dating platforms. This acquisition has provided Hinge with substantial backing, supporting its continuous growth and feature development. Prior to being fully acquired by Match Group in 2019, Hinge had attracted significant investments to fuel its expansion and technological advancements.
  • Years in Operation: Founded in 2012, Hinge has been operational for over a decade. It has undergone significant transformations since its inception, notably pivoting from a "swipe culture" towards more substantive engagements between users.
  • Founders: Justin McLeod is the founder of Hinge. His personal experiences and challenges in finding meaningful relationships inspired him to create a platform that facilitates deeper connections, countering the superficial interactions typical of the dating app landscape at the time.

4) Fishbowl

Fishbowl is a unique professional social network that facilitates semi-anonymous interactions among professionals across various industries. Unlike traditional professional networks that focus on curated profiles and formal interactions, Fishbowl offers a platform for candid, often anonymous discussions, allowing professionals to seek advice, share experiences, and discuss industry-related topics freely without the pressure of maintaining a polished image.

Fishbowl's unique approach to professional networking continues to fill a niche for those seeking more honest and direct communication about workplace and industry dynamics, distinguishing it from more polished and curated networking sites​​​​​​​​.

  • Headquarters Location: Originally based in San Francisco, California, Fishbowl has since moved its headquarters to New York, New York. This location places it in one of the major hubs for both tech innovation and business in the United States.
  • Current Funding: Fishbowl has raised a total of $7.4M in funding over 2 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Jan 22, 2019 from a Seed round. This includes investments from notable firms like GGV Capital, Plug and Play Tech Center, and Binary Capital.
  • Years in Operation: Fishbowl was founded in 2016, and it has been providing a platform for professional networking for over seven years.
  • Founders: The platform was co-founded by Matt Sunbulli and Loren Appin. Sunbulli serves as the CEO, while Appin is the COO. Their vision was to create a space where professionals could interact more openly and authentically than on traditional platforms like LinkedIn.

5) Public App

Public App is a hyperlocal social media platform from India that connects individuals with their local communities. It allows users to receive and share real-time updates from local businesses, media, politicians, and other entities, catering primarily to non-English speaking users. The platform has been particularly effective as a space for citizen journalists to post videos and updates about local events and issues, contributing to its rapid growth in user engagement.

Public App continues to thrive by providing a unique service that taps into the need for localized content, making it a critical tool for community engagement and information dissemination in India.

  • Headquarters Location: Public App is based in Noida, India. This location serves as a strategic point for the app, given its focus on hyperlocal content and the significant user base in and around the region.
  • Current Funding: Public App has successfully raised significant funding to fuel its growth. The app has accumulated $41.3 million in a funding round led by A91 Partners.
  • Years in Operation: Public App was launched in 2019. In just a few years, it has become one of the leading hyperlocal social networking platforms in India, with plans to expand further into global markets.
  • Founders: The founder of Public App, Azhar Iqubal, who is also the co-founder and CEO of the news aggregator service Inshorts, envisioned the Public App as a platform to keep the local population informed and engaged with their immediate surroundings. His leadership has steered the platform to impressive growth, leveraging the infrastructure and success of Inshorts to build a robust social networking service​​.

6) Yubo

Yubo is a social media platform designed primarily for Generation Z, focusing on creating a virtual space for young people to meet, interact, and form friendships through live streaming and social discovery. Unlike typical social networks, Yubo does not feature a 'like' system or a following mechanism, aiming instead to foster genuine social interactions among its users.

Yubo stands out for its commitment to safety and inclusivity, implementing rigorous measures such as real-time content moderation and age verification to protect its users. This focus on creating a secure and welcoming environment has helped it become a favored platform among young people worldwide.

  • Headquarters Location: Yubo is headquartered in Paris, France. This location places the company in a vibrant cultural and technological hub, facilitating creative and innovative developments for the platform.
  • Current Funding: Yubo has raised significant funding to support its growth and development. Most notably, it completed a Series C funding round where it raised $47.5 million in November, 2020. This round included contributions from existing investors such as Idinvest Partners, Iris Capital, Alven, and Sweet Capital, with new investors like Gaia Capital Partners also joining​​.
  • Years in Operation: Founded in 2015, Yubo has been active for over eight years, during which it has grown to serve a large global user base.
  • Founders: The platform was co-founded by Sacha Lazimi, Arthur Patora, and Jérémie Aouate. These founders aimed to create a social space that diverged from traditional social media dynamics, emphasizing interactions that are more reflective of real-life socializing​​​​.

7) Reddit

Reddit is a vast network of communities that are created, run, and populated by its users. Each community, known as a "subreddit," revolves around a specific interest, topic, or theme. Users can share news articles, post original content, and engage in discussions. It's often described as "the front page of the internet" due to its user-generated content that spans countless topics and areas of interest.

Reddit has grown to be a platform where millions of users worldwide converge to discuss a myriad range of topics, making it one of the most popular websites globally. Its structure allows for a unique blend of content and discussion, which is moderated by community-selected moderators, ensuring that the vast variety of content is largely self-regulated.

  • Headquarters Location: Reddit is headquartered in San Francisco, California, which positions it in the heart of the tech industry alongside many other leading technology companies.
  • Current Funding: Over the years, Reddit has raised significant amounts of funding, with a total of $1.3B in funding over 9 rounds. As of their latest round, Aug 12, 2021 from a Series F round, Reddit has been valued in the billions.
  • Years in Operation: Reddit was founded in 2005, which means it has been operational for over 18 years, evolving significantly in that time from a simple news link sharing site to a complex aggregation of forums.
  • Founders: Reddit was founded by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian. They created the site as part of a startup accelerator, Y Combinator. The site was envisioned as a place where people could find and discuss anything they found interesting on the internet, which has fundamentally remained the core of what Reddit is today.

8) Exolyt

Exolyt is a Finnish startup that offers a B2B SaaS platform specializing in TikTok analytics and insights. It provides tools for brands, media agencies, record labels, and creators to understand and optimize their engagement on TikTok. The platform offers data-driven performance monitoring, social listening, and intuitive insights to help users navigate the fast-paced environment of TikTok and develop effective social media strategies.

Exolyt's platform is designed to cater to the needs of modern digital marketers and content creators who require real-time analytics to stay competitive in the dynamic social media landscape.

  • Headquarters Location: Exolyt is based in Helsinki, Finland. This location places the company in one of Europe's active hubs for technology startups, providing a conducive environment for innovation and growth.
  • Current Funding: Exolyt has raised a total of €450K in funding over 2 rounds. Their latest being on Mar 7, 2023 from a Pre-Seed round.
  • Years in Operation: Founded in 2020, Exolyt has been operational for over three years, during which it has focused on developing and refining its TikTok analytics capabilities.
  • Founders: The startup was founded by Henri Malkki, Jonne Bovellán, and Mauri Karlin. These serial entrepreneurs aimed to create a platform that could provide substantial insights into TikTok data, helping businesses leverage the popular social media platform more effectively​​.

9) BitClout

BitClout started as a decentralized social media platform built on its own blockchain, allowing users to buy and sell "creator coins" tied to the profiles of public figures and influencers. These coins represent a form of social currency that fluctuates in value based on the popularity of the individual it represents. It aimed to decentralize social media much like how Bitcoin decentralizes finance, by giving users direct control over their content and interactions.

Now BitClout redirects their user to the Diamond App, a decentralized and open-source web3 Twitter app for creators & communities.

  • Headquarters Location: BitClout does not operate from a traditional physical headquarters due to its decentralized nature.
  • Current Funding: BitClout has raised a total of $200M in funding over 2 rounds, the latest raised on Sep 21, 2021 from a Initial Coin Offering round. Other prominent investors include Andreessen Horowitz and the Winklevoss twins.
  • Years in Operation: BitClout was launched in March 2021 and has been operational for over two years.
  • Founders: The platform was initiated by an anonymous figure known as "Diamondhands." The true identity of Diamondhands was later revealed to be Nader Al-Naji, who previously founded the cryptocurrency project Basis.

Get Your Social Media Startup Funded With Visibles Help

Each of the nine companies brings its unique twist to the digital landscape, proving that social media continues to be a fertile ground for technological and entrepreneurial innovation. For founders inspired to bring their own visions to life in this dynamic sector, securing the right funding and guidance is crucial.

To manage and enhance investor relations with ease and efficiency, try Visible. By using Visible, you can streamline investor communications, track important metrics, and report progress efficiently, keeping your investors engaged and informed. Ready to take your investor relations to the next level?

Try Visible free for 14 days and start strengthening your investor connections.

Related resource: How To Find Private Investors For Startups

Related resource: How to Hire Your First 10 Startup Employees

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