Facebook for families, not! Kin launches with £2.3M, highest pre-launch raise in Europe
Originally, social media platforms were supposed to be a new way to connect with friends and stay in touch with family. However, most of today’s major social media platforms primarily cater to marketing needs instead of promoting rapport and companionship. UK-born Kin is a new kind of social media platform, and to be precise; it’s a ‘private social network app’ for families.
Based out of London, Kin is announcing its official launch after raising a notable £2.3 million in a pre-launch funding round. It was founded back in September 2019 by co-founders Michael Collett and Matt Blom. In a conversation with UKTN , the company’s CEO and co-founder Michael Collett reveals more about the startup, how it’s different and much more.
Kin is no Facebook, for a good reason
Kin is clearly a service meant for families but how is it different from any other social media apps? Collett answers, “We wouldn’t compare ourselves to Facebook. We created Kin with a simple purpose in mind: to bring families and loved ones together in the present but also in the past, and the future. We wanted to provide an alternative to the traditional social media and messaging platforms that are now all about hyper-connectivity and marketing.“
Kin is, in-fact, a different kind of social media service wherein you need not navigate through ads, fake news, influencers or social pressures often associated with traditional social media. It is a subscription-based service, which means it will neither sell user data to third party for generating revenue nor will it engage with advertisers.
“There is a real consensus and excitement about what we’re doing. We launched in March 2021 with the highest private network funding raise in Europe and pre-launch value of $25 million (£18 million approx.). The market we are addressing is huge – our growth plan is for Kin to be available in 10 different languages, collectively covering 4.8 billion people worldwide. As a part of initially growth, we’re aiming for 100 million users by August 2022,” reveals Collett.
The future of messaging to families
The idea for Kin was initially born after Collett read the poem ‘A Little Fellow That Follows You’. It inspired him to start writing emails to his son, Tristan, which he could read and enjoy in the future. However, opening an inbox overfull of emails from his father didn’t appeal Collett and thus he called up his co-founder Matt Blom.
They came up with an idea to send messages to loved ones in the future, and that’s where the idea of Kin was born, with the Future Messaging feature at its core. A wider proposition to families and groups of people followed as Blom and Collett developed the idea further.
With so many social media services, it can be difficult to set yourself apart. Kin however pulls it off by offering some unique features such as shared spaces, which ensures that moments and memories are preserved in an accessible way, by automatically sorting memories into chronological order. Besides, it offers families to record and ‘post’ a Future Message for their loved ones, which will be unlocked at a certain date in the future – 18th birthdays and wedding days, for example.
“This a feature which no other app or brand provides and was inspired by my relationship with my son Tristan. After his birth I wrote hundreds of letters to him via email for when he was old enough to read them, but I felt that there needed to be a better and easier way for families and me around the world to do this. And so, Kin and the Future Messages feature was born,” Collett explains. “In particular, Future Messages gives grandparents a way to communicate with their grandchildren when they are older; keeping memories, identities, personalities and family identities alive for generations.”
Memorial accounts preserve memories
Memorial accounts is another feature unique to Kin. It preserves memories from family and friends that are no longer with us in a safe and secure online environment. “My father sadly passed away at the end of 2020 and was the first Memorial Account created on Kin. Just because a family member is no longer with us, doesn’t mean they don’t still play a huge role in your family – Memorial Accounts help you keep their memories very much alive and part of your story,“ Collett notes.
Some of the mentioned features definitely set Kin apart from the rest of social media services. However, as mentioned earlier, Kin is a private social media network, which doesn’t rely on advertisers and is a private network. This can be counted as one of the biggest differentiating factors.
Expansion and future plans
The latest pre-launch funding by Kin will be used to scale and grow the company. Collett says, “Our primary focus is on creating a brilliant product experience. Much of our investment is being used to develop the app and quickly add new and better features with every version. Kin is a place where people share the stuff that matters, so getting the in-app experience right is so important to us.”
The startup will also spend on marketing and brand-building to onboard new users. It has also hired many full-time developers recently and is currently in the process of expanding both its developer and marketing teams. While the company has recently completed a funding round, it could raise more funds in Q4 this year.