Meet Yubo, a French startup that wants to make social networks a bit more… social. Yubo is an app designed for teenagers, and it’s all about meeting people, making new friends and belonging to a community.
The app has quietly grown over the past few years and managed to attract 20 million users. There are now close to a million users who open the app every day, and the company says that it is currently growing by 10 percent month-over-month.
But what makes Yubo so special? Last year, I wrote that social networks were no longer social. And Yubo shares the exact same vision.
“Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat… everything is fake,”co-founder and CEO Sacha Lazimi. According to him, when you join one of the big social networks, you can’t do anything and you can’t just be yourself. You end up following the same top accounts with millions of followers.
It’s a passive experience that involves a lot scrolling and liking, but very few meaningful interactions. In other words, many teens feel lonely on those social networks.
Lazimi has a strong vision of what a social network should be. In many ways, Yubo feels like an internet forum or an IRC channel, but designed for mobile. If you’re still defining your identity as a teen, Yubo can help you talk with people who share your interests even if they don’t go to the same school as you.