If we talk about popular social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat etc, not all of them focus on teenagers. But there’s one startup from France which does and is very popular among teens — dubbed as Yubo — it is already so popular that has 40 million users across 40 countries.

Raised £36 million

Recently, the Paris-based app startup raised a $47.5 million (approx £36 million) funding in Series C round, led by existing investors Idinvest, Iris Capital, Alven, and Sweet Capital as well as new investors, including Gaia Capital Partners. 

“Yubo demonstrated that the Generation Z has adopted the platform for good and the word is now spreading far beyond its original markets as the start-up just went through its fastest-growing period, offering a most needed safe and international discovery experience to its young users,” adds Gil Doukhan, Principal at Iris Capital. “This new ambitious round will fuel its growth and success across North America, Europe, Asia, and South America and ensure its world-class safety measures remain industry leaders by far.”

As a part of the round, Jerry Murdock, co-founder of Insight Partners will become an independent member of the Yubo board. To date, Yubo has raised $60 million (approx £45.2 million) in funding in less than a year.

“Yubo has an innovative and differing business model among other social media platforms and manages the difficult task of connecting with Gen Z all around the globe. The app has quickly established itself as a leader in the highly competitive US market, as well as in all English-speaking countries. I strongly believe its innovative approach to socializing online will make it the must-have social space of tomorrow.” comments Jerry Murdock. 

How will the funding be used?

The funding will be used to accelerate its product development including dedicated live-streaming capabilities, YouTube integration, new activities, and games.

Additionally, Yubo is also partnering with Snap Inc. to integrate Camera Kit, bringing Snapchat’s camera and AR lenses to the Yubo platform. Finally, Yubo will develop unique recommendation algorithms to personalise its users’ experience.

Part of funding rounding will be used to strengthen safety measures and features such as age verification and real-time intervention, and more. 

Also, Yubo will continue increasing its in-app support and prevention capabilities with educational tools and key partnerships with NGOs. 

A place to hang out without any pressure

Founded by Arthur Patora, Jérémie Aouate, and Sacha Lazimi in 2015, Yubo aims to create a safe social space online for young people, inspired by the best of offline interactions. As per the company’s claims, Yubo is a place where Gen Z can just hang out and be themselves without any pressure to perform. 

Since its inception, the platform has grown significantly in the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, and France, claims the company. Recently, Yubo added Latin America to the app’s roster, with +1200% new users in 3 months. The number of active users in the UK grew on a daily basis by 80% with time spent in the live stream growing threefold, added Yubo. 

The UK represents Yubo’s second biggest user base with more than 3.6 million British members. In 2020 alone, the number of users in the UK who are active on Yubo on a daily basis grew by 80%, with time spent in live stream growing three fold.

Sacha Lazimi, CEO and co-founder of Yubo says, “2020 has been a significant year for Yubo, and we are thrilled to be ending the year on such a high. Five years on from the launch of the platform, we are proud to have created a new social space for young people centered around real-time, one-to-few conversations. Yubo is creating a space where they can hang out and find out about the world and themselves.”

Market expansion on cards

The French company is planning to expand its market to Southeast Asia, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. The social platform also plans to open offices in every key region including New York to further support its largest user base. Earlier this year Yubo opened its first UK office in London.

Planning to multiply workforce by 10X

The Paris-based startup is expected to end 2020 with a revenue of $20 million (approx £15 million), doubling its turnover from 2019. On top of that, the company is also planning to multiply their workforce by 10 times.

Alice Albizzati, the co-founder of Gaia Capital Partners, says: “Yubo has demonstrated unparalleled growth and execution since its inception, and has proven its ability to monetize users early on while investing in their safety. We have been impressed not only by its strong capital efficiency and significant activity in the US but also by how the company paves the way in terms of user safety and empowerment in the consumer social media space. As responsible growth investors, we are thrilled to support this outstanding team in their growth trajectory to achieve global leadership in the coming years.”

Yubo also opened a dedicated London office earlier this year, with new members of the team including Benjamin Trigalou, former Product Lead for Waze who will lead design for Yubo, and Margaux Liquard, Yubo’s new Lead Safety Manager, whose former roles include prominent safety positions for Tripadvisor, the world’s largest travel site. The London office supports the growing member base in the UK and further cements Yubo as one of, if not the safest social platform for teens in the UK and across the globe.