There is a new start-up about to hit the crowded market of social networks: Clapit. And to create a necessary point of difference, this disruptive start-up has waged war on social networking’s machines and algorithms, rather than the platforms that use them.
“Clapit makes social media human again,” says Co-Founder and CEO, Paul Bedwell.
“Rather than competing with existing social media networks, Clapit embraces them. It provides a place where users can cut through the noise and get an overview of today’s best content from across various apps and websites.”
It’s a bold move, trying to enter a market already dominated by giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but so far, Clapit’s strategy is working. Last month, the Sydney based start-up — which has operations in Los Angeles — announced it had raised AU$2.57 million in seed funding, breaking the record for a mobile app funded entirely by Australian investors.
Having finished a seed funding round in Australia, Clapit will be launched globally from New York and the app will be available as a free download from the Apple iTunes store later this month.
Here’s why Clapit sees a bright future ahead:
It has great minds thinking alike
Clapit was founded by an unlikely trio who each bring to the team a unique skillset in addition to their impressive intelligence and drive. Bedwell is a medical doctor and an avid surfer, CMO Mary Jane Bulseco is an entrepreneur who began planning to buy her first property at age 14, and CTO Stan Tsvirko is a tech specialist who started out as an experimental researcher for the CSIRO.
Bedwell, Bulseco, and Tsvirko have called upon some creative and innovative heavyweights to bring their idea to life. They continue to receive advice from Chris Evans, a consultant to Facebook in its start-up days; brand direction from Paul Wilson, co-founder of Australian cult denim brand Ksubi; and expert marketing tips from former Managing Editor at Garance Doré, Neada Jane.
It provides a point of difference
The Clapit app allows users to curate a public feed of premium web content sourced from a growing list of apps and networks, including Facebook, Twitter, iTunes, iPhone images, YouTube, Vimeo, Spotify, Mixcloud, SoundCloud, and webpages with an iOS share tool.
The creators behind Clapit believe the answer to finding great online content is not found in mathematical algorithms or machine learnings. As users ‘clap’ content, it is pulled into the app, where it is voted on by humans.
Clapit users are also able to provide more human reactions to the content they interact with, by posting a photo ‘selfie-reaction’. Clapit hopes that this feature will create a ‘more authentic visual dialogue’.
It connects with consumers on an emotional level
The company is selling Clapit with an inspiring story. By promoting the app as a ‘best content democracy’, it offers ownership and power to the people.
The Clapit team feels that social media users have become tired of being told what content to consume and is calling them to take action. It compares its mission to the Terminator story — allowing the next generation to win one back from the machines by taking back control of their newsfeeds from algorithms and advertisements.
It sources fresh faces
While other social networks seek out brand ambassadors who are already famous, Clapit is focused on finding people who are only starting to make waves, or have shunned social media the way it currently exists.
It has deals with up and comers, including Preston Pollard, a 26-year-old Alaskan living in Los Angeles who volunteers as a youth motivational speaker and works as a professional skateboarder, actor, and model, and humour blog Brown Cardigan, which has only a modest Twitter following of 4,480 users.
Supermodel Stef ‘Bambi' Northwood Blyth and her husband, Dan Single, have a much larger public profile. They are promoted as happy users of the beta version, saying:
“Never been on Facebook, not that interested in Instagram. With a keen eye and a curious mind, I still watch and want to be involved in the social media game, although nothing felt cool or right. Clapit feels the most human way of doing the biz.”