As young consumers turn to video-focused social apps and more personal forms of social networking, a new social app called Studio, launching today, introduces a group camcorder experience that allows groups to friends to share videos with each other in private albums. .
These albums, or “studios” as they are called, are available for all party members to record and share daily memories or vlogs in a more creative format than your standard party chat.
The app launches to the general public today, backed by $3.3 million in seed funding led by GV’s MG Siegler.
Studio co-founder and CEO Matt Hidalgo, formerly of Cockroach Labs and Twitter, explains how the startup landed on this collaborative short video idea.
Initially, the team explored other social media ideas, including a photo-sharing tool called Collie, which confirmed that there was some level of user demand for a collaborative social networking experience, but private. This app gained traction with high school students over the summer who used it to create to-do lists.
But the format Collie used wasn’t quite successful, leading the team to turn to the idea of using video instead.
“The younger generation… has this insatiable appetite and desire to consume video and create video,” says Hidalgo. “And it’s still a format that I would say is very underexplored – a lot of the biggest apps out there do video and video editing in a very distinct way that stems from where they came from,” he says. . “We think there’s a lot more interactivity and dimension to explore with video.”
With Studio, users open the app on a camera that looks like an old-fashioned camcorder, then record videos up to 10 seconds long which are saved in private and shared albums called studios. The idea is to use the albums as a way to record and piece together the band’s everyday memories in a way that creatively uplifts them. You shouldn’t feel like you’re recording causal Snapchat videos, but rather mini-episodes of a larger story. Hidalgo likens the experience to creating collaborative TV shows, in a sense.
The company came up with this idea when it discovered that its power users were using the app to record highlights of their school clubs or sports teams, such as recording videos for game day or other events. It reminded Hidalgo of how his parents filmed home movies that would entertain the family as they watched them over the years. Studio aims to provide a similar vibe.
However, the app as it stands today is simpler than some might expect from today’s social apps which are often cluttered with AR effects, filters, editing tools , etc. In Studio, you can invite friends to a room, record 10-second videos together (which are grouped together as “episodes” each day), add subtitles – and not much more.
It was odd that there wasn’t even a built-in way to “react” to friends’ videos, adding likes or comments, like there is on social apps. But that’s by design, notes Hidalgo.
“Our dominant way of building a product was to build the most stripped down version possible. [and] test the basic mechanism,” he says, adding that the app has no comments or discussions. Instead, users are supposed to respond by recording their own videos to continue the “episode”.
Of course, the idea of a group video app isn’t new. Studio shares some similarities with other video apps from years past, like the video texting app Glide which once dominated Instagram for a while. The concept is also reminiscent of Flashtape, the video texting app from the creators of YOLO, but lengthens the supported video length from 1 second to 10 as a differentiator.
Still, the best social app BeReal wasn’t entirely new either – it’s very much inspired by an older social app, FrontBack. It simply introduced the dual camera concept to a new generation of users and has now reached 46 million global installs and a top 10 position on the App Store in over a dozen countries.
GV’s Siegler, who returned to seed investing about a year and a half ago, says he’s interested in the potential of new social apps aimed at younger audiences.
“With what’s going on with big business…it feels like there’s this time of — if it’s not a complete changing of the guard, it feels like people are opening up again to try new things,” he explains. “There was this lingering feeling that these [larger social] networks are aging. The demographics have changed – and young people are looking for the following and trying different types of networks. »
He believes the Studio team is looking to build more slowly and methodically to capture its audience, instead of trying to explode overnight as a viral sensation, as many social apps on TikTok do today.
“There will be a lot of micro-pivots along the way and, listening to their user base on what they actually want to build,” he notes.
Studio, based in New York, is a team of three co-founders, including Aditya Mohile (formerly from Facebook) and chris chao, in addition to Hidalgo, as well as two interns. It is currently recruiting a founding designer and a founding engineer.
Other investors include Mercury Fund, Pareto Holdings and various angels such as Cockroach Labs CEO and co-founder Spencer Kimball, Gumroad CEO and co-founder Sahil Lavingia, Behance CEO and co-founder Scott Belsky, Anchor co-founder Mike Mignano , the founding creator of Square Robert Andersen, Delicious CEO and Co-Founder Vincent Zavarce, Kevin Carter, CEO and co-founder of Brat Darren Lachtman and the Black Angel group.