Friendly Apps raises $3 million, pre-product, for apps that improve people’s well-being – TechCrunch

Veteran product engineer and designer Michael Seiman Builds apps since he was a kid, gives him roles on Facebook, Google, Roblox and most recently, Twitter, Where he has often been tasked with developing products designed for adolescent audiences. Seiman was only 17 when he joined Facebook, but has already built several apps – an experience documented in his book “App Kid“Over the years, Seiman has contributed to high-profile products such as Instagram Stories, WhatsApp Status, YouTube Shorts and Roblox Graph. Friendly apps.

The startup’s thesis is that its generation, Gen Z, understands that many of the social apps built to date can be toxic to users’ health and can prevent people from achieving their true goals. Friendly Apps’ mission is to create a suite of apps with a different set of values ​​designed to help people with their physical and mental health in new ways.

Before starting Friendly Apps, Simon worked on Twitter. In fact, he was the founder Just joined Twitter In March, there he intended to help the social network by building new product experiences for teens through its 0–> 1 team.

But after the acquisition of Elon Musk was announced, internal product development efforts slowed, he says. This situation gave him a boost to finally break out of Big Tech to work on his segment.

“You need a billionaire trying to buy a company I worked for so he could finally go do it,” Seiman says with a laugh.

The idea of ​​Friendly Apps is something he had in mind for years when he saw how technology companies developed their products.

“A lot of social media products use conservation tactics that slowly degrade the well-being and mental health of their users because of the way they are designed,” Seiman explains. The companies encouraged misconduct on the part of their users, and became popular because they were addictive, he says.

“They have tactics to get people in.”

He suggests that the problem lies not only in product design, but also in the goals and internal metrics that companies pursue.

“The structures and incentives in many of these social media companies are not geared in a way that encourages longer-term thinking around the well-being of the person using the product,” notes Seiman. “If someone fails on the platform … if he feels anxious, depressed or insecure, over time, he will stop using the product. They will try to find other ways or other ways to communicate or connect with the people who care about them by other means,” he says.

Seiman wants friendly apps to be different. Although the startup will take learning from apps and social products it has helped create for teens, its apps will not be aimed solely at Generation Z users.

As for the apps themselves, they have not been created yet. Despite this fact, the start-up raised a $ 3 million lime round in about a week. It seems like a lot of people were willing to gamble on Seiman, starting with Weekend Fund’s Ryan HooverFounder of Product Hunt.

“I have known Michael for eight years. It was clear that he would eventually set up his own company. He has a very rare ability to sense deep human behavior, translate his ideas into clean design and build quickly,” Hoover says. “We are committed to investing pre-product, pre-deck.”

However, Seiman has some ideas for different products. He envisions that one app can be focused on helping people achieve their fitness goals – even if they are not exercising or running regularly in the gym, or some other type of hardcore fitness follower.

Another app can help people remember to prioritize their relationships in the real world and encourage them to hang out with people who care about them in the physical world.

“Everyone does so many things that basically we don’t end up being personally updated for a while,” Seiman says.

As time goes on, friendships may deteriorate because people know less and less about each other, which can affect mental health. Today’s social apps do not help – they only isolate us even more, he explains. Instead, we end up experiencing relationships through a “small window of filtered images,” he notes.

“We did not evolve to live that way – as we all do now,” says Seiman. “So I think a lot of the mental problems we’re starting to see, especially among the younger generations, come as a result of this isolation and the ‘tiny window’ view of the world.”

The founder also plans to bring his worldview as a second-generation Latino immigrant to Friendly Apps product experiences, while seeing the potential to help address specific barriers that new immigrants to the U.S. need to overcome.

Photo credit: Friendly apps

But such concepts may or may not be among the first apps launched. Instead, the start-up plans to test a package of products, experiences, features and even various design elements before bringing anything to the public.

Seiman can build apps quickly. But as a sole founder, he will still need some time to get the products up and running. He hopes something will be released to the public in about six months, he says.

Preliminary Investors in Friendly Apps include BoxGroup, Weekend Fund, Shrug Capital, Day One Ventures, Betaworks Ventures, SRB Ventures, 305 Ventures and CoreVentures, as well as founders and operators from Snap, TikTok, Instagram, Meta, Google, Tesla, Things And others.

The company also wants to include the perspectives of those outside Silicon Valley, Seiman says.

One angel investor, Haley LiebsonShe told TechCrunch that she was “very happy that Michael preferred to bring in angelic investors like me and others, including teachers, mothers, students and immigrants from diverse backgrounds.”

“The technology industry doesn’t really attract a lot of investors from places that are not the technology industry,” notes Seiman. “If we think about how to produce products that help people’s mental health and help people’s physical well-being … I think we can get opinions, feedback and inputs directly from people who are not in the world of technology.”

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