noplace, a mashup of Twitter and Myspace for Gen Z, hits No. 1 on the App Store | TechCrunch (2024)

Aiming to bring the “social” back to “social media,” a new app called noplace has surged to the top of the App Store as it launched out of invite-only mode Wednesday. Designed to appeal to a younger crowd — or anyone who wants to connect with friends or around shared interests — noplace is like a modern-day Myspace with its colorful, customizable profiles that allow people to share everything from relationship status, to what they’re listening to or watching, what they’re reading or doing, and more.

Boding well for its potential in the often-difficult consumer social market, noplace had already gone viral ahead of its public launch because of its feature that allows users to express themselves by customizing the colors of their profile. Though Gen Z may not have grown up with Myspace and all its chaotic customizations, there’s still a sense of nostalgia for a social networking experience they never had.

“I think that part of the magical, fun part of the internet is gone now. Everything is very uniform,” says founder and CEO Tiffany Zhong, who previously founded her own early-stage consumer fund, Pineapple Capital, and, in her teens, worked at Binary Capital, helping them source early-stage consumer deals.

noplace, a mashup of Twitter and Myspace for Gen Z, hits No. 1 on the App Store | TechCrunch (1)

Having played with every consumer social app over the past decade, Zhong has a good eye for the next big hit. She flagged in 2015 as the startup that would become the next Snap or Twitter, for instance, after realizing how much traction it had with kids and other younger users.

She also often tweeted her product insights and analysis, particularly about consumer apps, gaining her a following on social media. Given her background, it’s no surprise that Zhong has well-developed ideas about what might appeal to today’s younger users in a new social networking app.

noplace, a mashup of Twitter and Myspace for Gen Z, hits No. 1 on the App Store | TechCrunch (2)

“I’ve always loved social,” she says, but added that social media doesn’t feel social anymore. “Everything is just media. It feels very disconnected.”

In part, that’s because all our content now is highly personalized, the founder says. “We’re watching different content and [following] different interests than our friends, so community is harder to find as a result,” she says.

With noplace, the idea is to provide a place where people can follow their friends as well as find others who share their interests in one place.

The app offers a mini, customizable profile where they can share what they’re up to right now and customize it to reflect their interests. Users’ profiles can feature tags, which the app calls “stars,” that are the interests or topics that they care about. For example, users might add their astrology sign, their Myers-Briggs personality type, their hobbies or their fandoms to their profiles, which then makes them discoverable to others. It even has a “top 10 friends” section, reminiscent of Myspace’s top 8.

But noplace is more like a global group chat or Twitter/X rival than it is an alternative to Facebook, as it focuses on text-based updates and doesn’t support either photos or videos for the time being.

noplace, a mashup of Twitter and Myspace for Gen Z, hits No. 1 on the App Store | TechCrunch (3)

“Facebook 10 years ago — or Facebook when I was using it in middle school — was all around cool, life updates,” Zhong says. “We don’t get that anymore, right? You can follow [friends] on Instagram, but it’s still highlights, less updates.”

Also on noplace, users are meant to share what they’re currently doing, not what they’ve already done. If you’re in a new city or watching a show or checking out a new band, those could be your status updates. The app offers two feeds, one with your friends and another global feed from everyone in the app, and both are in reverse chronological order. There are no private profiles.

People who enter their age as younger than 18 will also receive a more moderated feed. The company is focused on moderation, having built its own internal dashboard for the purpose, and is tasking a team to ensure users stay safe.

noplace, a mashup of Twitter and Myspace for Gen Z, hits No. 1 on the App Store | TechCrunch (4)

Instead of algorithms, noplace leverages AI technology to drive suggestions and curation. The app doesn’t edit the feed for you, but rather uses AI to do things like offering summaries of what you’ve missed.

“We did that intentionally … having a global, public feed is what makes it so fun. It’s like everyone’s brain on paper,” Zhong notes. “People have a blast. They’re like, ‘I’ve never had an app like this before.’”

The Tokyo- and San Francisco-based founder first started working on noplace during the second half of last year along with a remotely distributed full-time team of seven. Late last year, noplace launched into an invite-only beta phase and “accidentally went viral,” Zhong says, prompting the team to distribute some invite codes to early adopters, which included some K-pop fans.

The app is now poised to offer younger Twitter users an alternative to the network now known as X under Elon Musk, and offers the same ability to post to a text-based feed, but combines that with friend-finding features and customization options that appeal to their demographic.

The app is a free download on iOS and is available in read-only mode on the web. Monetization plans are not yet underway. noplace competes with other friend-finding apps targeting Gen Z, like Wizz, Yubo, purp, LMK and others.

The startup is backed by funding from investors including 776 (Alexis Ohanian), Forerunner Ventures and others. According to PitchBook data, the company raised $15 million in a Series A1 round, at a pre-money valuation of $75 million, bringing its total raise to north of $19 million.

noplace, a mashup of Twitter and Myspace for Gen Z, hits No. 1 on the App Store | TechCrunch (2024)
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