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College Social Media App Fizz Raises $12 million Series A in Surprise Move

Nigel Powell Former Tech Journalist & Columnist Author expertise
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College campus social network app Fizz has announced a new Series A fund raise of $12 million. The funds will be used to continue growth.
Image source: Fizz

College campus social media networking app Fizz has announced a surprise $12 million Series A fundraise. It’s an unusual move because only five months ago the company raised a seed round of $4.5 million to scale the app. Moving so fast to the next round is not typical, because it usually takes so much work to get it right.

Nevertheless, the app now has the fighting funds it needs to deliver on its vision.

The goal of the app is to provide a personalized social platform for each individual campus. This sets it apart from other social networks which generally aim to build huge communities. If you remember your tech lore, this is how Facebook started — as a social platform for Harvard students only.

Memes, Events, and Polls

Fizz lets students create text posts, publish photos, and run polls, but only for their particular campus colleagues. What’s more, every user has to have an email address tied to that college, otherwise, they can’t get on the app. The other main difference between Fizz and other social media platforms is the fact that Fizz features robust moderation.

The company gives away free donuts for students who download the app

Users can vote posts up and down, and the company has a team of paid moderators who make sure the material posted isn’t inappropriate for the audience.

The students can also direct message each other using real names or pseudonyms if they want added privacy. It all sounds very civilized, and so far the take-up seems to be good. The company gives away free donuts for students who download the app, which helps.

In October, the app was running on 13 campuses. Now, a few weeks later, it’s being used on 25 campuses. The startup, which now boasts 25 full-time employees, aims to launch on over 1,000 campuses by the end of next year.

It’s an ambitious goal, but the founders are confident that their combination of focused community and aggressive moderation will appeal to the newer generation of students.

Fizz Social
Image source: Fizz

A Bit Of a Security Fizz

There are other apps competing for the space, of course, and Fizz has a few things going against it. For one thing, it’s only available on iPhones at the moment. The company also faced a serious security issue back in November 2021.

Some enterprising folk discovered a way to access the personal information of users in the database, and also edit the information to change posts or statuses — needless to say, the security breach was orchestrated by a student team at Stanford University.

The breach involved 4,800 users at the university

Luckily there was no malevolent intent to create mayhem, but to warn the app about the security holes. The holes were patched and apologies were made. Plus, since that episode, the Fizz team has put a lot more attention on security.

It was an unfortunate incident, but the company seems to have moved on, as the new fundraiser indicates. It’s especially unfortunate since the company set out to build up a real community feel for the app.

The founders, Teddy Solomon, and Ashton Cofer started the company while at Stanford University. The pair noticed that COVID had really increased the sense of isolation they felt, and they set out to try to fix that with an app.

Building a business is hard enough at any time, but to try to grow a social media app in the current economic climate may seem like pure folly. The company seems to have the wind behind its sales right now, but whether that momentum can be maintained will require luck as well as skill.

One other aspect which may impact their plans is the fact that there are several competing Fizz brands floating around the web. Fizz for financial advice, Fizz as an agency. Not to mention other rivals such as YikYak. Time will tell.

Nigel Powell Former Tech Journalist & Columnist

Nigel Powell Former Tech Journalist & Columnist