Forbes India – Apps, social media, teens: Can U-able stand out as a social networking app for teens?
youable, a social networking app for teens, was born out of the belief and insight that teens can do anything, and was launched in September 2021. Co-founded by Saurabh Saxena and Vasavi Kandula, Uable is an online platform where teens can interact with each other, create content, learn, find internships, play games, and shop, among other things.
“My experience in the field of education, where I worked closely with teenagers, taught me that it is always difficult for young people to be accepted in the digital landscape, even if they are digital natives,” says Saxena. He and Kandula came up with Uable to bridge that gap and create a platform for 13-19 year olds. “I believe social media needs to evolve and become more valuable to young audiences. Therefore, we decided to create a platform specifically designed for teens that provides a safe environment for them to explore a diverse set of ‘interests.
To help kids discover their passions, interests, and activities to excel at, Uable offers 20 clubs, or virtual communities, they can join, based on their interests. These clubs cover interests such as design, art, gaming, career, anime, and K-pop.
He thinks it’s a great way to make new friends and talk to new people.
Uable has yet to generate revenue and is focused on user growth and engagement. Initially launched, it raised $4.5 million from investors including 3one4 Capital, Jafco Asia and Chiratae Ventures.
Revenue streams for Uable would be pro-tools for creators and brands, teens buying U-coins to unlock premium content and communities, and Uable getting a commission from commerce enabled for creators and brands,” explains Kandula (37), an IIT – Graduate from Madras.
What makes Uable unique?
“We all want to empower teenagers; The Uable Community Guidelines were written by them. They compiled and published the guidelines on the app themselves,” says Kandula.
The app’s business model provides an ad-free experience for teens, although this isn’t the first time a social networking app has done so. Ello, an online social networking service launched in March 2014 in the United States, claimed to be completely ad-free, but users weren’t very clear with its privacy statement. Eventually the app failed and was later converted into a public benefit corporation. Another social network called Diaspora was created in 2010 to become an ad-free alternative to platforms such as Facebook.
Saxena says Uable has some features similar to Instagram and Discord, but also has its “own version.” During the Covid-19 pandemic, when physical interactions and outdoor activities were at a minimum, “teenagers found a friend in Uable to do all the things they missed,” he adds.
Dr. Radhika Bapat, psychologist and cross-cultural counselor, says the tech landscape is constantly changing; it is pervasive and pervasive in our lives, and it would be incorrect to vilify or revere this tendency. “Personally, I think it’s important that we empower our children to protect themselves and prepare for the inevitability of the internet, social media and games becoming part of the fabric of our lives.”
Anurag Ramdasan, partner at 3one4 Capital, believes that Uable has had an “interesting and iterative journey since its inception”. “Saurabh, his entire career being a commitment to the next generation, has made us want to partner with Uable. The way he has crafted experiences around great clubs and tight-knit communities is fascinating. We are incredibly optimistic about what Saurabh is doing and are extremely excited to see this unique platform grow,” he said.
“We’re aiming to onboard 10 million teens by the end of 2024. Along with engaging and growing users, we’ll enable creators to build amazing communities and even monetize their digital content and services. “, says Kandula.
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