Mobile video chat community Vive has today announced it has raised $1.5 million in seed funding, with participation from investors including SoundCloud, Evernote and ResearchGate. Vive launched out of beta in June 2014, and focuses on real connections between users, with a membership-only service that connects users of like-minds and tastes.
Vive has seen more than 150,000 signups, with 40 percent of users engaging with the app on a daily basis. The app focuses on quality users, trust and meaningful connections, and requires Facebook verification for signup. Users must complete a questionnaire before they’re accepted to participate within the app, and controls are available for reporting or blocking users that have been accepted but later fail to follow the app’s guidelines.
Once users are accepted as members, they receive a personalized feed of other members who are available to chat and share similar interests, like travel, art and other topics. These personalizations are based on a user’s Facebook profile, and the topics users enter during the questionnaire portion of signup. Users can also create their own topics for conversation going forward. For instance, if an English-speaking user wishes to practice speaking in German, they could make a topic specifically for practicing said language with a fluent speaker or another user looking to practice.
Conversations in Vive last 15 minutes on average, with the longest call lasting 13 hours. When someone wants to chat, they typically find another active, matching member and begin a successful call within an hour. These video calls are free for users.
“Our goal is to create the most authentic, emotional and human experience online,” said Vive co-founder and CEO, Arnd Aschentrup, in a statement. “For the last two decades, people have felt increasingly dislocated. Social networks keep us busy with self-promotion, but they’re not very good at connecting us emotionally. Texting and photo-sharing can’t create the feeling we have with a great face-to-face conversation, while anonymous apps leave us less connected to real-world experiences. Vive’s mission is to create happiness through connection. To offer a community in the old sense of the word, but rethought for the digital age.”
Vive is available to download for free on the iTunes App Store. A fully optimized iPad version of the app launches this week.