By centering its social platform around identity, Somewhere Good designs a unique digital space to find community
(PRUnderground) May 18th, 2021
Somewhere Good, a social platform centered around identity and community, raised a $3.75 million seed round of funding led by Silicon Valley venture capital firm True Ventures in late 2020.
Founded by Naj Austin, Somewhere Good intends to displace archaic social media norms by offering a new experience centering group interaction over a traditional “individual-first” approach. The company currently has a growing waitlist of over 5,000 and plan to launch the beta app in the later half of 2021.
The round was led by True Ventures with participation from investors Slauson & Co., NextView Ventures, Gabrielle Union, Ellen Pao (Project Include), Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings), Ashley Mayer (Glossier), Toyin Ajayi (Cityblock), Jackie Nelson (Tribe AI), Lindsay Ullman (IAC (Umbrella was recently acquired), Helena Hambrecht (Haus), Tina Bou-Saba (Big Future Fund), Jillian Williams (Cowboy VC), 2PM Inc. as well as existing investors Dream Machine, Debut Capital and Canvas Ventures.
“One of the aspects that’s so special about Somewhere Good is how it takes the curiosities of its members and invites them to discover more based on their interests,” said Sahiti Enjeti of True Ventures. “People are connected very intentionally. There just aren’t a wealth of digital spaces like Somewhere Good that offer an environment where there’s a sense of mental safety for coming together and connecting — without worry of judgement or harassment. This is the type of business we can see thriving now in our post-pandemic world while serving communities that have been overlooked.”
In November 2019, Austin opened Ethel’s Club, a social and wellness club in Brooklyn, New York, after raising a pre-seed round of $1 million from investment firms Dream Machine, Shrug Capital, Debut Capital, Canvas Ventures, Color Capital and angel investors Roxane Gay, Katie Jacobs Stanton, Hannibal Buress and Ronnie Lott among others. Due to the pandemic, the company pivoted to a digital model and grew the community to nearly 2,000 global members who welcomed the transition at a time when they were feeling isolated. Somewhere Good was created soon afterwards to answer a much larger issue plaguing the tech landscape — there are currently no end-to-end experiences centering identity, safety and collaboration.
“The current digital solutions prioritize a predominantly white, cisgender, heterosexual experience,” said Austin. “Somewhere Good is challenging that reality by centering the rest of us with a community-first perspective.”
Somewhere Good is designed to encourage discovery and simplify connecting with one another online. On the platform, groups share responsibility for their space and in the beta release, there are no profiles, friending, or following and all content is encouraged to have clear, cited sources. These product decisions emphasize the mission of Somewhere Good: to mimic real in-person group experiences built around trust, knowledge sharing and authentic kinship.
“I invested in Somewhere Good because I deeply believe in Naj’s vision of building safe and intentional digital spaces,” said Gabrielle Union. “It’s important to me as a Black woman and mother that we are able to exist comfortably online and authentically connect with one another. It’s been so inspiring to watch the Somewhere Good team bring the vision to life and I can’t wait for other people to experience it.”
The company also launched a year-long fellowship called SHIFT to foster an ongoing feedback loop of exploration between the company and the communities it serves. Somewhere Good will share more information about the selected fellows this summer.
About True Ventures:
Founded in 2005, True Ventures is a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm that invests in early-stage technology startups. With more than $2.8 billion under management, True provides seed and Series A financing to entrepreneurs in today’s fastest growing markets. To learn more, visit www.trueventures.com.
About Somewhere Good
Somewhere Good is a social platform reshaping the digital experience by prioritizing identity and co-creation. Founded by Naj Austin, the company also works alongside digital innovators to ensure intentional community practices are built into the experience of the platform. Somewhere Good will launch in late 2021.
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Original Press Release.