Berlin-based SLAY, a new social network that aims to promote positive online interactions for teens through playful social gaming experiences, announced on Thursday that it has raised €2.5M in a pre-Seed round of funding led by Accel.
Julien Bek, Principal at Accel, says, “We’re extremely impressed by the SLAY app, both in its immediate popularity among teenagers and the team’s positive goal of improving teenage mental health in the digital world. Already, the SLAY team has seen almost half its active users use it every school day.”
The round also saw participation from Harry Stebbing’s 20VC and additional investors, including Supercell co-founder and CEO Ilkka Paananen, Behance founder Scott Belsky, football star Mario Götze, Kevin Weil (Scribble Ventures) and musician Alex Pall (The Chainsmokers).
SLAY says it will use the funds to publicly launch the platform in new countries, build its product and consumer teams, and further develop the app’s features and functionality.
“Built to spread love and positivity”
In recent years, social media has seen a swift spread of criticism and negativity. Prominent platforms like Instagram and Facebook have been under increased media and public criticism about their effects on the mental health of their users as well as failings in terms of content control and safety problems.
This is especially true for young adolescents as various studies have examined how social media and the internet affect their mental health, revealing potentially harmful connections to mood and mental health conditions.
This is where SLAY looks to make a difference. The social network app aims to help tackle the teenage mental health crisis by normalising these online experiences and already has over 250,000 users.
What is SLAY?
Founded in 2022 by Fabian Kamberi, Jannis Ringwald and Stefan Quernhorst, SLAY is a “positive-only” app where users answer positive polls about others. It allows users to compliment their friends and “be honest” through anonymity.
Fabian Kamberi says, “The state of social media today is worse than ever before. As billions of people use sites like Instagram and TikTok to stay in touch with their friends and express their online identity, a combination of superficial interactions, divisive discussions and influencer-driven expectations is having a hugely negative impact on the mental health of young people.”
“It has always been my mission to build great apps for teenagers – so that’s why we have built SLAY to foster positive, safe, meaningful social interactions through the power of compliments and positive game modes in the app,” adds Kamberi.
When users start the SLAY app, they are presented with 12 questions that they must respond to by selecting a different user (from their school, class, or peer group) to anonymously compliment.
For instance, the app may question a user, “Who motivates me to give it my all?” Then, they can decide which of four other students from their school to pay for this “slay”. If they correctly answer the 12 questions when logging on, all users will be able to read the compliments they have received, but the identity of the person who offered the compliment will remain secret.
SLAY, which is now accessible on both iOS and Android devices, has subsequently been translated into a number of languages and is gaining popularity in other nations, including the UK, where it was just released.