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Hands off the phone: Opal raises $4.3M to keep us on social media less

Hands off the phone: Opal raises $4.3M to keep us on social media less

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Startup Jedi

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Statistics show that in 2020, the number of hours a day spent on smartphones has increased significantly. Social networks and instant messengers are the leaders among applications. At the same time, it is not the first year when research and experts note that people are worried about the impact of mobile applications on their lives. The term “mobile fatigue” comes into use: the constant uncontrolled use of mobile applications can increase the level of experienced stress.

For several years, the founder of the Opal application, in which $4.3M was recently invested, was moving in the same direction. The leading investor was the Adjacent fund, which focuses precisely in the field of mobile development. Opal founder Kenneth Schlenker notes that technology entered his life as a child and he was obsessed with it: as it is the opportunity to be in contact with people, learn new things and have fun. However, he has spent the last 10 years trying to balance his mobile user habits.

Realizing that this was a common problem, Schlenker launched Opal, which blocks user access to certain sites and applications. A paid subscription allows you to set up a schedule of such blocking, where you put certain events, be it a family lunch or a nature trip, from which you do not want to be distracted on social networks. Opal also offers an extreme level of blocking that cannot be canceled until the time you have set has expired. Internally, the app allows you to track progress: it visualizes the results achieved, which positively reinforces the user experience.

The founder emphasizes that Opal does not collect or store any data from applications that it blocks — this is a competitive advantage of the application. Opal also stands out in the productivity tools market for its positioning: the audience of the project, the management sees adults and partly adolescents, but excludes the possibility of introducing the function of “parental control” and targeting the child segment.

Schlenker notes that he was surprised by the interest of a large fund in the project, he had not previously attracted investments in the project, so he did not plan to “raise so much and so early.” Funding will help expand the team, improve the application from an engineering and design point of view. While Opal is available on the App Store in a free version with a paid subscription option, there are plans to launch versions for browsers and the Android system.

27 Jan 2021

 

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