Zest AI snags $50m, Kingswood Capital raises $500m

Zest AI snags $50m, Kingswood Capital raises $500m

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Unsurprisingly, Musk’s manic approach to change has some venture capitalists watching competing apps closely.

Roy Bahat, head of Bloomberg Beta, said he sees potential in a company called Planetary.Social, which Bloomberg Beta recently backed.

Planetary.Social promises to give users more transparency by allowing them to see and choose the algorithms that control their feeds, which most networks don’t allow. The app was founded by former boss Jack Dorsey and aims to be an open-source competitor to Twitter, although it competes with Dorsey’s very similar product called BlueSky, announced in February.

Then there are other newer platforms gaining traction, like BeReal, a French social app launched in 2020. BeReal pings each user at a different time each day to warn them to take a photo within two minutes no matter what it does, with the aim of showing a more authentic picture of people’s lives on social media. A similar app is Somewhere Good, which creates “worlds” for people to communicate in real time with audio answers to specific questions.

Kimberly Nixon, managing partner of Los Angeles-based Open Venture Capital, said she is interested in newcomers to “see how these teams are evolving the idea of ​​shared experiences and building communities in spaces. digital”. Nixon said she is watching BeReal and Somewhere Good closely. Mastodon, a decentralized microblogging app, was also mentioned by a number of VCs.

Nixon told dot.LA that she believes that despite Musk’s focus on improving functionality, Twitter’s core value lies in how it connects users.

“The format is forgiving and encourages quick and constant updates,” she said. “But what makes or breaks Twitter is the community.”

That’s why, Nixon added, “any new platform that’s going to compete for the attention of users and investors will likely have to focus on both building high levels of community engagement and building ‘a set of tools that foster successful interactions’.

Tony Silva, a Los Angeles-based investor, noted that Twitter users are generally older and said demographics would be key to Twitter’s ability to succeed if it increased paywalls.

Silva said he believes any viable competitor to Twitter will need to focus more on “content creation than social-personal relationships”, and added that major apps – including TikTok – appeal to generational users. Y by “escape” since they usually watch videos made by strangers.

Silva said investors and users agree that “everything revolves around video content. Companies that give the customer unlimited amounts of information, more than their competitors, will win.

But, according to Nixon, whichever platform ends up challenging Twitter could contain a mix of qualities from other competitors, like “a mix of AngelList for funding and publishing opportunities, LinkedIn for building profiles and something as prolific, but not as divisive, as Twitter for engagement.

Ultimately, Twitter is unlikely to risk a major exodus of users to another app.

“I doubt that frustration with Twitter is reason enough for people to turn to a new network,” Bahat noted. “What drives people to do something new is when they get something very valuable and different.”

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