Blend is an amazing startup founded in May 2013 by 2 college drop-outs from the US and one other developer. Their mantra is “snap.share.score”.
How this works is that students are challenged each day to post photos on a certain theme, for instance “My pet is better than yours” or “Library Shenanigans” and if you receive enough ‘snaps’, equivalent of ‘likes’, you can redeem free gifts from various Blend Brands. The retailers that are chosen by Blend are nicely integrated into their app with unique ads, displaying students using their products. One in 6 photos is a brand ad. There are at the moment more than 200 brands working with Blend.
As a startup, they’ve already raised $125,000 from Sillicon Valley angels and no less than $1.2 million from Romanian investors, the Digital Catalyst Fund. They are raising funds as each day goes by. Of course, you can join this network only if you’re a college student in the US and you prove that by signing up with your .edu e-mail. Recently, as one of the founders in a dropout from Michigan, he decided to exclude all members form Ohio State University, Michigan’s most hated rival.
Their future plans include extending it as a true social network by including push notifications, allowing members to post comments or tag friends in their photos. The app’s transition out of beta, will be marked by implementing two other features this fall such as a custom camera and one on one interaction feature.
Of course, this app reminds me of Mark Zuckerberg’s initial plans, back in 2004 on creating a social network for college students only. Blend’s main purpose here is to attract young users again, as the number of teenage Facebook users has declined by 25% over the last 3 years, as more and more parents and people over 55, join the network with an amazing growth rate of 80%. It’s no secret that teenagers would like a place where they can freely express themselves, without the fear of being seen by their Mum doing crazy things at a college party.
Great idea guys! As I support all startups in digital, I wish you luck and I hope that your app will grow each day and become better and better!