Blend, a mobile based social network around photo sharing for college students raised a $2.7 million Seed Round led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA), with participation from Trinity Ventures, Foundation Capital, Lerer Ventures, Maveron, BoxGroup, XG Ventures, and SparkLabs Global Ventures.
Blend had previously received $1.3 million coming out of the Digital Catalyst accelerator last year. The new round of funding will be used to grow the team and transition the app out of beta.
Blend is built around a key habit of today’s college students, taking pictures. Blend encourages its users to take pictures everyday based on a changing theme. Followers and friends can then vote on the pictures which acts as social currency on the network.
The currency can then be used to buy other users gifts or it can be exchanged for perks by one of the official 200 partners. Other than on most social networks Blend added brands directly into the network, not as advertisers but as a part of the experience. All partners are curated by the Blend team based on the benefit they can bring to the network’s userbase. Current partners include Uber, Rowdy Gentleman, Fraternity Collection, Alex & Ani and textbook rental platform Chegg.
Blend has gained over 50.000 daily users since its launch in October through word of mouth. College students are a highly sought-after demographic according to Kittu Kolluri, General Partner at NEA and Blend has managed to engage them in a natural way.
“Facebook introduced the world to social networking, but it didn’t maintain its focus on its core base. Blend was similarly created by students to fill the significant gap between a first generation social network and what students demand today. Its singular focus is the college audience.”
states Ajay Chopra, General Partner at Trinity Ventures.
Last week we learned that 70% of college students use the popular photo centered app Snapchat every day and that targeting them with ads might be a way for Snapchat to monetize its service.
- Blend Secures $2.7 Million Seed Round | PR Newswire
- Blend Lands $2.7M In Seed Funding Led By NEA | TechCrunch
- Blend seeks to turn college kids’ pictures into freebies for ‘starving students’ | VentureBeat
- Study Finds 77% of College Students Use Snapchat Daily | Mashable