The company behind last summer's hot social app Poparazzi appears to be readying a round two following its $15 million Series A announced in June. A new listing in the App Store under the developer's account, TTYL, is teasing a pre-release app called Made With Friends. The app offers a twist on Poparazzi's original concept of social networking profiles crafted by a user's friends, instead of by the users themselves, but adds support for other types of content.
Poparazzi had encouraged friends to post photos to each others' social networking profiles as if they were their friends' "paparazzi" -- hence the name. Made With Friends, meanwhile, expands on that concept by asking users to post all sorts of things to their friends' profiles -- including text-based content like answers to questions or prompts, as well as photos and videos.
This Poparazzi spin-off seems partly inspired by today's popular Q&A apps, like Sendit or NGL, which tie into other social networks, like Snapchat and Instagram. On those apps, users receive questions in an inbox that they can answer and share to their social profiles or Stories elsewhere. But in the case of Made With Friends, users aren't posting questions anonymously, nor is the app itself delivering fake questions to create engagement as the anonymous Q&A apps had been doing (at least, until Apple's App Review team caught on and requested changes to be made).
However, based on some earlier screenshots of the new app, it does appear the Q&A responses in Made With Friends could be designed for social sharing to other platforms, like Instagram.
Image Credits: Made With Friends
TechCrunch reached out to the team behind Poparazzi to ask about its plans for the new app and whether or not this was an attempt to pivot into a new area. The company responded (after publication) to confirm the new app would be released in the fall and noted Poparazzi was continuing to grow. It clarified, through a spokesperson, that Made with Friends was an evolution of Poparazzi's Challenges feature from the past summer, where it challenges users to post using a prompt.
But according to data from Apptopia, the Made With Friends app was originally titled "Pop - Made with Friends," and had described itself as a way you could "pop" someone by answering questions about them, tagging them on a prompt with a photo, video, GIF, quote or description. The updated version on the App Store today does away with the "pop" lingo and branding, but introduces the same concept of social profiles that are essentially made by friends.
It makes sense that Poparazzi's team is beginning to test new options.
Despite Poparazzi's early success, which led the app to top 5 million installs a year after its launch, it's since lost ground to a new wave of social networking apps that are attracting a younger, Gen Z audience. Currently, this group is dominated by BeReal, which has been steadily holding onto its position as the No. 1 app on the U.S. iPhone App Store. In addition, younger audiences have also downloaded a range of other social apps in larger numbers than Poparazzi -- like video networking app Yubo, which counted some 60 million sign-ups as of May, and homescreen social app Locket with around 20 million installs as of its $12.5 million seed funding announcement announced this month.
These trends could be driving TTYL to look for new twists on its friends-focused social networking concept.
This would not be the first time the team at TTYL experimented with a new social networking concept. Before delivering a hit with Poparazzi, the company had developed nearly a dozen other apps, including OMG, CampusFM, TYPO, Lynx, Yearbook 2020 as well as TTYL, the audio social network and Clubhouse rival the company's name references.
As TTYL co-founder Alex Ma explained earlier this summer, most social networking apps fail and the best thing to do is to keep building and experimenting until one works. This multi-app business model has also been adopted by another consumer social app maker, 9count, which recently raised new funding as both Wink and its Gen Z dating app Summer took off.
We noticed TTYL has already begun to market the new app through TikTok influencers as there are posts that show Made With Friends in action, despite its preorder status. One such video was also reposted to the new Made with Friends TikTok profile which teases the app as "coming soon."
It's not clear what this additional may mean for Poparazzi's future, but it's worth noting that TTYL's flagship app has still not made its way to Android.
The App Store shows an expected release date of October 1, 2022 for Made With Friends, which is now available for preorder.
Updated 8/30/22, 4:48 PM ET with responses from TTYL.