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Anti-Twitch by former employees raises $3.5M to develop a non-toxic beauty community

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Startup Jedi

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Newness startup raised Seed round of $3.5M last week, led by Sequoia and featuring a number of business angels. Launched in 2019 by ex-Twitch employees, the project is a streaming platform for beauty bloggers that allows them to develop tools for the specific goals of content creators and the specifics of their community.

Unlike the largest streaming services —Twitch, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook — Newness attracts users to the platform and engages them to interact with content based on the requests of the beauty industry and the principle of a non-toxic community.

According to the startup's co-founders Jennie Qian and Yuri Park, while working on Twitch, they saw how streaming forms a strong community, but toxicity is destroying it. Therefore, they introduced the anti-Twitch principles into the basis of the platform: strict moderation and rewards for quality engagement without the toxicity that Twitch commentators are famous for.

The platform also collaborates with cosmetic brands. Thanks to this, the virtual points that community members earn for engaging a blogger in streaming can be exchanged for real beauty products from partner brands. This system turned out to be efficient: according to the management, 66% of viewers not only watch the stream, but also participate in the discussion.

Newness also allows you to make private streams, during which bloggers give personal advice and beauty lessons to viewers. The startup plans to profit from part of the sales of such VIP tickets for broadcasts, but the project has been in beta testing for a year now. All bloggers are selected independently, trying to set the initially desired tone for the platform.

Qian and Park, both from Twitch, know firsthand what weak moderation can lead to: their former employer fought off scandals associated with a toxic community all last year. Public comment on the issue prompted Twitch to update its policy to combat hate content and harassment among bloggers and commentators.


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