A number of startups are experimenting with what a better social app could look like. For a startup called Alms, the answer is a social network that focuses on user wellbeing by engaging in creator-led challenges in areas like personal growth, sustainability, and others with positive impact. Rather than promoting the “likes” of the collection like other social apps, Alms aims to encourage engagement in the real world through its challenges and the specific steps and actions that need to be taken.
The idea, explains Alms founder Alexander Nevedovsky, is to develop an app that will lead users to a happier and more meaningful life while using it. This is something that modern social platforms can’t really promise.
Work on the project began in the early days of the 2020 pandemic, Nevedovsky says.
“Many of us felt depressed and sad at home with little access to friends and family,” he explains. “I felt like the world really needed something that was a little bit more than meditation, journaling, or mood tracking – all of these apps and techniques are great, but they’re not designed to improve your everyday life. Interaction in the real world. “
However, the original version of Alms released last year was missing something that would make the app “sticky”. Users signed up because they liked the concept, but eventually abandoned them and no longer took part in the activities. The startup knew it took a little more to keep users engaged in their travels, which is why it has now grown into a stronger social community.
When you start the redesigned Alms app for the first time, you will be guided through a short onboarding process in which you choose your interests from three main areas: personal growth, sustainability and impact. For example, “personal growth” interests can include things like mental health, wellness, spirituality, or relationships. “Sustainability” focuses on environmental and nature-related interests. And “Impact” would include things like activism, volunteering, local community and more.
After setup is complete, you can follow YouTubers, post the challenges, or join individual challenges, each with its own set of steps to complete. For example, on a challenge that focuses on improving your lifestyle from home, the steps will lead users to take steps to improve their workplace and work-life balance (e.g. physical measures, among other specific measures Add activity to your routines.
When you take part in a challenge by completing and checking off each step, you will be asked to post a story about that step on that challenge’s feed to inspire others who may add an encouraging comment. But collecting likes and comments is not Alms’ goal, says Nevedovsky.
“We see enormous opportunities in the fact that more and more people with specialist knowledge in these topics – personal growth, sustainability and impact of various kinds – are basically trying to scale their impact with us,” he notes. “We enable them to place all of their knowledge or content in a scalable way so that people can actually – dislike it, not comment on it – but actually try to repeat it.”
At the start, Alms has around 30 YouTubers who share their content in the form of challenges in its app, and 15 more are in preparation. She hopes to hit a few hundred in the next few months. The new version of the app has also attracted several thousand users so far.
Many of the challenges in the app have been taken by hundreds of users, so when you click on it to join it will feel like you are in a bigger event. Personally, though, I would prefer if posting a story and sharing it with the feed were optional – not every step deserves its own contribution, I think. (And at times, you may have nothing to say about the small steps you completed and feel like you’ve cluttered the feed with unhelpful posts.)
Alms was founded together with the startup studio Palta, a home for apps like Flo.Health, Simple Fasting and Zing Fitness Coach. Palta has a controlling interest in Alms and the company has no other outside investments. A remotely distributed 14-person team is working on the Alms app, which is currently not monetized.
Nevedovsky says the team is considering adding some sort of token-based economy, or maybe a DAO that would offer some sort of real-world rewards. This could include, for example, the opportunity to take part in the administration of Alms or to join a creator fund. The tokens would not be tradable, at least in the short term. The company may also consider simpler ideas like in-app tips. However, nothing is finalized yet as Alms is currently working on product market adaptation and scaling its user base.
Overall, Alms seems to appeal to those who want to spend their time more mindfully and effectively using social apps, but are looking for inspiration that comes with a more specific direction.
“I think people often put their hopes on what will happen in the future without actually influencing it. I think it is very helpful to have an app that helps you with ideas and inspiration from people who know what they are sharing, what they recommend – especially when it comes to support, ”notes Nevedovsky. “Persons [on Alms] really care. “
In our opinion, the app is well structured and attractively designed. But despite the new social components, given the competition for screen time on today’s mobile devices, it could still have the original user abandonment problem.
For the time being, Alms is a free download only for iOS.