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20 Trending Social Media Startups

The ways in which modern life has been shaped by social media cannot be ignored.

Social media empowers people to form and nurture relationships, connects people with critical news and opinions, and enables people to form personal brand empires.

This is why countless entrepreneurs are launching new social media networks. Along with tools designed to help people increase engagement on existing platforms (like Instagram).

Read on to learn about 20 hot companies with novel approaches to providing social platforms and social media-related services.

1. PearPop

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5-year search growth: 4400%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2020

Location: Los Angeles, California

Funding: $16M (Series A)

What they do: PearPop is a digital platform that allows TikTok Influencers to charge for social media collaborations. Social media users pay a price, which can be as much as a few thousand dollars, to partner on content. The company helps creators bring in money for their work while offering a popularity boost for the people with whom they partner. Financial backers include well-known names like Mark Cuban, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Snoop Dogg.

2. Fishbowl

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5-year search growth: 640%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2016

Location: San Francisco, California

Funding: $7.5M (Seed Round)

What they do: Fishbowl is a social networking site for people who share a common industry (such as law, education, or finance) to interact, share advice, and more. The platform's users include the Mayo Clinic, Teach for America, and Ogilvy, all of which have shown employee adoption rates of at least 40%. The company completed a $5.3M investment round in early 2020, including contributions from former TikTok CEO Alex Zhu.

3. ShareChat

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5-year search growth: 8800%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2015

Location: Bangalore, India

Funding: $764.8M (Series E)

What they do: ShareChat is an India-focused social media platform offering a newsfeed and content sharing experience to speakers of regional Indian dialects. The company has garnered the interest of tech powerhouses Google and Twitter, with the mention of Google potentially acquiring the platform at one point. ShareChat announced in April 2021 that it recently raised $502M and was valued at upwards of $2B.

4. Exolyt

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5-year search growth: 3100%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2020

Location: Helsinki, Finland

Funding: Unknown amount (Pre-Seed Round)

What they do: Exolyt is a social media analytics tool that focuses on providing TikTok insights to marketing professionals, TikTok influencers, and content creators. The platform displays information such as video like timelines, profile comparisons, and video performance compared to average benchmarks. The Extravagant Company, a Helsinki-based business, is behind the analytics platform, which boasts more than 1M users per month.

5. Hinge

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5-year search growth: 316%

Search growth status: Exploding

Year founded: 2012

Location: New York City, New York

Funding: $20.6M (Acquired)

What they do: Hinge is a dating app focused on genuine connections and long-term relationships. One differentiator of the service is their “We Met” feature, a rating tool for dates coordinated through the app that helps to hone their algorithm. In 2019, Match Group completed their acquisition of Hinge, adding the dating site to their sizable portfolio, which also includes OkCupid, Tinder, and PlentyOfFish.

6. Cohley

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5-year search growth: 900%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2016

Location: New York City, New York

Funding: $1.8M (Seed Round)

What they do: Cohley helps marketers create and test content for the digital platforms they manage. The company enables content generation through a network of skilled videographers/photographers and influencers known as “Cohley Creators.” In January 2020, the company announced that it had raised a total of $1.5M from Right Side Capital, Active Capital, and others

7. Songclip

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5-year search growth: 1000%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2016

Location: Port Washington, NY

Funding: $22.9M (Series Unknown)

What they do: Songclip provides an API that allows apps to offer song searching and sharing capabilities to their users. The company's technology provides short music clips that are configured for optimal searchability. In the company's latest funding round, announced in March 2021, they raised upwards of $11M from Evolution VC Partners Gregg Smith and others, including the band members of AJR.

8. Public App

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5-year search growth: 132%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2019

Location: Noida, India

Funding: At least $76M (Exact amount and funding round unknown)

What they do: Public App is a relatively young social media platform that helps users get information based on their location from local businesses and entities such as politicians and media companies. The company is focused on an Indian market and caters to speakers of several Indian languages. In Q1 2021, Public App raised $41 million in a funding round led by A91 Partners, on top of an additional $35M raised in 2020.

9. Bitclout

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5-year search growth: 99X+

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2021

Location: Unknown

Funding: Unknown

What they do: Bitclout is a social experience that enables the buying and selling of BitClout tokens that pull their value from the popularity of celebrities and other individuals. As more users purchase an individual's tokens, those tokens grow in value. Though the exact funding amount is unknown, as is the identity of the anonymous founder DiamondHands, the business has attracted many high-profile investors and is valued at around $1B.

10. Trufan

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5-year search growth: 600%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2018

Location: Toronto, Ontario

Funding: $4.1M (Seed Round)

What they do: Trufan is a social media marketing startup that connects brands with social data to help them analyze and make sense of their audience. Though still young, the company boasts names such as Netflix and Sony Music in their customer base and acquired two social tools, SocialRank and Playr.gg, in 2019 and 2020 to expand their marketing capabilities.

11. DojoMojo

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5-year search growth: 1100%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2015

Location: New York City, New York

Funding: Unknown (Seed Round)

What they do: DojoMojo is a social media audience building and engagement platform for marketers. Companies can use Dojo Mojo's tools to grow their audience, run contests, communicate with fans by text, complete sponsored content transactions, and more. DojoMojo was founded in 2015 by Alex Song, Colin Darretta, and others to help companies capitalize on the power of partnership marketing.

12. Houseparty

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5-year search growth: 800%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2012 (Life on Air); 2016 (Houseparty)

Location: San Francisco, California

Funding: $70.2M (Acquired)

What they do: Houseparty is a social media platform based on video chatting. The “face-to-face social network” grew out of the company Life On Air, which was founded by Itai Danino and Ben Rubin in 2012. After a stint with an app called Meerkat, Houseparty was launched in 2016. Just three years after its launch, Houseparty was acquired by Epic Games, the creator of Rocket League and Fortnite, for $35M.

13. Yubo

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5-year search growth: 1580%

Search growth status: Exploding

Year founded: 2015

Location: Paris, France; U.S. Headquarters - Jacksonville, Florida

Funding: $67.5M (Series C)

What they do: Yubo is a Gen Z-focused social media platform that eschews influencers and ads and does not sell its user information. The platform brings in revenue through upselling its customers as opposed to more traditional methods. In a funding round announced in November 2020, Yubo raised $47.5M from Iris Capital, Gaia Capital Partners, and others.

14. CitizenLab

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5-year search growth: 2700%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2015

Location: Brussels, Belgium

Funding: €3.4M (Series A)

What they do: CitizenLab aims to connect local governments with their constituents to boost engagement and reach. The company was founded out of a desire to modernize the inefficient, outdated ways many governing bodies use to communicate with their communities. Headquartered in Belgium, CitizenLab is used in over 18 countries.

15. Discord

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5-year search growth: 1566%

Search growth status: Exploding

Year founded: 2015

Location: San Francisco, California

Funding: $479.3M (Series H)

What they do: Discord was founded as a gaming communication platform by childhood friends Stan Vishnevskiy and Jason Citron and grew into a social network for people from all walks of life that now sees around 140M monthly users. The now 6-year-old company raised $100M in 2020 and is valued at $7B.

16. Tagger Media

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5-year search growth: 400%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2016

Location: Santa Monica, California

Funding: $8.5M (Series A)

What they do: Tagger Media offers a platform to help businesses more easily navigate and optimize influencer relationships. The platform gives brands the power to locate influencer talent, manage campaigns, and evaluate the success of their influencer marketing. Tagger Media secured $8.5M from Five Elms Capital in a Series A round that closed in April 2021. They plan to use the funds to boost their product growth and expand their reach.

17. Quora

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5-year search growth: 147%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2009

Location: Mountain View, California

Funding: $226M (Series D)

What they do: Quora is a question-and-answer platform that allows users to interact, share information, and gain knowledge. The platform was founded in 2009 by Charlie Cheever and Adam D'Angelo, former Facebook employees. In 2020, Quora transitioned to a primarily remote work-focused company spurred in part by the coronavirus pandemic.

18. Restream

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5-year search growth: 787%

Search growth status: Exploding

Year founded: 2015

Location: Austin, Texas

Funding: $55M (Series A)

What they do: Restream is a video streaming company used by clients ranging from gamers to celebrities. The company offers multiple-platform video streaming, scheduled streams, chat functionality, and video analytics. Alexander Khuda and Andrew Surzhynskyi and initially founded Restream with the intent to serve the gaming community.

19. AspireIQ

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5-year search growth: 5400%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2013

Location: San Francisco, California

Funding: $9.8M (Series A)

What they do: AspireIQ helps social media creators sustain themselves on their content creation work while connecting brands with influencers to promote their products. The company focuses on three main solution areas: influencer marketing, community building, and a professional services arm that handles campaign management. In a 2020 report, Forrester recognized AspireIQ as the “best all-around current offering” for influencer marketing tools.

20. Meesho

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5-year search growth: 99X+

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2015

Location: Bangalore, India

Funding: $515.2M (Series E)

What they do: Meesho is an online e-commerce platform that helps sellers and buyers connect on social media. The app falls into the surging category of social commerce and has seen tremendous 10X user growth from 2020 to 2021. Facebook, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, and other investors participated in a 2021 fundraising round for the company that amounted to $300M.

Conclusion

Social media changes fast, meaning the business world needs to adjust just as quickly to meet new needs and audiences. Looking at this list as a whole, the most significant trends that surface include influencer marketing, video, TikTok, and a focus on the Indian market.

These 20 social media startups may be young, but with innovative ideas and ample funding, they have the potential to thrive in today's digital economy.

Last Updated: 
April 27, 2021
Josh Howarth
Co-founder of Exploding Topics.

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