Investors show increased confidence in Fizz: A social platform expanding to over 80 college campuses
Investors' faith in Fizz grows as the social platform extends its presence to more than 80 college campuses.
Fizz, a rising social network founded by two former Stanford students, initially captivated Stanford University students with its innovative approach to anonymity and engagement. The platform, now two years old, has expanded beyond Stanford and gained momentum, although it faces challenges typical of social media companies.
Fizz operates uniquely by inviting individuals with Stanford email addresses to join, enabling them to contribute and comment anonymously within the community. Content is upvoted or downvoted by other users, affecting a user's "karma" score and elevating their "fizzfluence" while maintaining anonymity.
Sunny Xun Liu, from Stanford’s Social Media Lab, praises Fizz for enabling open discussions on various topics like relationships, substances, and classes. Fizz's link to physical campus life enhances its allure, with anonymity prioritizing content over authorship.
Despite its origins, Fizz is expanding nationally. CEO Rakesh Mathur states the platform is accessible on over 80 campuses, with plans to reach 250 schools by year-end. This expansion is accompanied by a significant funding boost, including $25 million from Owl Ventures and NEA in Series B funding.
In an era emphasizing revenue, Fizz's evolving business model is noteworthy. Danielle Lay, a partner at NEA, notes the success of specialized networks alongside broader platforms. Fizz's appeal to incoming freshmen is an advantage, helping newcomers understand campus life quickly.
Emily Bennett from Owl Ventures believes Fizz's focus on college students isn't a concern, emphasizing the importance of creating real utility for users. Despite Fizz's promising ascent, challenges arise, including content moderation and privacy concerns. Volunteer moderators handle takedowns, but biases and breaches have arisen.
In 2021, Fizz faced a privacy breach, prompting security enhancements. Comparisons to YikYak, a previous campus-focused network, emerge, though Mathur distinguishes Fizz through improved onboarding and moderation.
Despite challenges, Fizz's growth persists, securing $41.5 million in total funding. Founders Teddy Solomon and Ashton Cofer hint at future plans, including testing an online marketplace and introducing job listings. Mathur announces a new chief product officer joining Fizz soon.