LOS ANGELES--What happens when an entrepreneur who invented Tinder’s swipe feature and a top Facebook “do no evil” engineer join forces? They create Niche: an ad-free, decentralized social media platform consisting of user-owned communities, where members can own and sell their own content. Niche has recently closed its $1.8M pre-seed round. The investment was led by MetaWeb with follow-on from Alumni Ventures Group and a grant from the NEAR Foundation.
Current social media platforms profit from selling you ads. They harvest your data to create targeted ads that are more likely to apply to you and make them more money. This leads to poor content, easy propagation of misinformation, and a loss of privacy. One of the more challenging outcomes is the impact social media has on mental health; the platforms intentionally keep users hooked on their phones to see more ads. Niche is solving this product addiction by removing ads altogether. In fact, here’s a notable distinction: social media has users, and Niche has owner-members.
Niche is reinventing social media by distributing ownership of your networks to its members. Rather than traditional social media that uses your content to sell targeted ads, Niche Clubs reward engagement and content creation with token ownership. Each club has its own unique tokens that accrue real value over time and can be used for commerce, event admission, and membership status. The token can be exchanged for real currency. That means your networks are now part of your net worth. Niche fulfills the web3 promise of decentralized ownership and reinvents social media along with it.
Niche is co-founded by Christopher Gulczynski, CEO, and Zaven Nahapetyan, CTO. Gulczynski was a co-creator and CPO of Bumble, as well as a co-founder, CCO, and patented co-inventor of “the swipe” feature for Tinder. Nahapetyan was a senior engineering manager at Facebook, creating and leading key projects like Facebook fundraisers, civic engagement efforts, and several initiatives against misinformation.
“Versions of social media we use today do not value the individual user,” explained Christopher Gulczynski, Niche’s CEO. “As a decentralized, ad-free platform, Niche will not be driven by revenue; instead we will prioritize sharing credible and useful information, connecting people with others who share their interests, and allowing members to profit off the content they create.”
“We are thrilled to support Niche as one of our major investments of the year! NEAR’s goal has always been building a blockchain platform that can onboard creators and users from Web2 in a frictionless manner. With such a world class team building an innovative, community owned platform, we believe Niche will revolutionize social media,” says Amos Zhang, founder of MetaWeb.VC.
"We're really excited to have Niche building on NEAR. Social networking is the next major growth vertical in Web3 and Niche is the perfect team to accelerate that growth on NEAR. Their approach to community ownership and user-owned data resonates with our core values of usability and openness," said Illia Polosukhin, Co-Founder of NEAR Protocol.
Participants can apply to the beta, where they will have a unique opportunity to join the movement: http://www.niche.club/.
For more information, and to speak with the founders, contact Richard Laermer (RLM PR) at niche@RLMpr.com; 212-741-5106 X 216.
A decentralized platform powered by a token economy, Niche is changing social media by completely reinventing it. With interest-based clubs owned by members, everyone has a say in how their network is run. Niche clubs are for content creators who want access to their most engaged fans and direct distribution, collectors who want to buy and sell with ease, and real-life groups who want a digital home for their real-world community. A safer, more secure social media alternative free from advertising and algorithms that promote discourse and misinformation, Niche is launching to change social media as we know it today.