Business

With the help of former Facebook and Twitter managers, Tagg launches a social branding app for Gen Z.

Gen Z is not satisfied with the social media they grew up with, so they are build the apps that they want to use. A “social branding” app for creative teenagers and twenties, Tagg today announced a $ 2 million seed round from Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, Facebook’s former VP of International Growth Ed Baker, TripAdvisor founder Stephen Kaufer, Pillar VC, and others.

Founded by recent alumni of Brown University and the neighboring Rhode Island School of Design, Tagg is still in private beta with thousands of users and thousands more on a waiting list. It’s like a link-in bio service, but with a social element that encourages young creatives to connect, collaborate, and develop friendships.

“In the digital world, the more authentic your brand, the more authentic your connections are. Current social platforms aren’t enough as they weren’t designed for this evolving interface of branding and connection, ”the company explains. “Tagg builds and grows an environment that allows the full creative expression of oneself – no restrictions, no stigma.”

Depending on what you want to use your profile for (maybe you want a social profile or you want to promote your art and your network), you can choose from five profile skins when you embed it in the app. From there, you can customize your page, then follow people and post content like you would in any other app. But there isn’t a comparable number of posts on Tagg that are a deliberate design choice.

“WWe don’t have likes – just comments, shares and views – because we want our creatives to focus on being their favorite self without the stigma, ”co-founder Victor Loolo told TechCrunch.

Especially with the Gen Z audience that Tagg was designed for, users don’t always want it to count as they know it can encourage them to compare themselves to their peers in superficial ways. Even US Senators like Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) have introduced legislation that would ban likes for social media users under 16 because maybe it is harm the mental health of teenagers.

Credit: Tagg

Tagg’s “social branding” marketing may seem counter-intuitive at first glance – the concept of branding may sound like you are pigeonholed yourself. However, Tagg encourages its users to outgrow their comfort zone. Even though users create their profile using preset skins, these are just suggestions – if users want to create their profiles from a blank sheet and create their own categories to organize their content, they can.

Profiles can look like anything, that’s the beauty of it. We wanted to get away from the traditional, restrictive profiles that all social apps have, because as Gen Z-lers we attach great importance to freedom of expression and uniqueness, ”explained Loolo. “We wanted to find a comfortable, easy-to-use medium between a traditional profile and a blank page, which would be a challenge for a lot of people, so we went for profile skins.”

Tagg was inspired by Loolo’s own experience as a soccer player at Brown, where he felt it was difficult to define himself outside of his identity as a student athlete. That inspired him to build Tagg with co-founders Blessing Ubani and Sophie Chen.

“People are put in a drawer. Let’s say I’m the guy who does cooking videos on TikTok – I’m the cooking video guy. But I could enjoy video games and other things, ”Loolo told TechCrunch. “We wanted to break away from that and enable these creatives to curate more holistic images of themselves.”

Credit: Tagg

Tagg users are currently earning points by engaging with the platform – while those points are currently just a vanity function, Loolo sees this as a potential future for the app.

Although Tagg is not currently decentralized or tokenized, the principles of our platform reflect the values ​​of web3, ”said Loolo. “One of our goals is to convey to our creatives that a direct reward for their content sharing and community participation is the solution to the problems of the creator economy, as opposed to underpaying creativity and inconsistent branding. “

In the future, Tagg could move into allowing users to earn a coin or token of value. For now, however, Tagg is focused on adding more users to its waiting list and attracting more users.

After graduating from college in 2020, the team moved to the Bay Area where they continued to work on the app. With the latest funding, the app is hiring to expand its team. Steven Fang recently joined Tagg as CTO and Co-Founder and brings 15 years of engineering experience to the table.

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