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Parallel Universes

Parallel Universes
August 3 2020

Since the last election, the echo chamber effect of the existing social media platforms was exposed to many. People now realize that they were fed a curated view of the world via algorithms that maximize profit for those platforms.

However, there are two emerging tools that are giving people a view of the parallel universes out there. These tools give users a way out of their bubbles.

TheirTube lets you see YouTube from a number of different perspectives: a liberal, a conservative, a fruitarian, and a climate denier. In every case, it's a fascinating mix of pop culture, YouTubers, and a slow deep fall into a very niche part of the platform.

Vicariously is another tool that aims to change the perspectives of users on Twitter. Vicariously allows you to automatically create Twitter lists based on the users another account is following. So if you want to know what scrolling through Donald Trump, Kanye West, J.K. Rowling, or Hozier's Twitter feeds might be like, this app can give you an idea.

Despite its viral start, Vicariously got into trouble with Twitter. Twitter alleged that Vicariously was breaking its terms of service by automating list creation. While Vicariously says it has no intention of turning the lists into a business, it nonetheless is trying to resolve the issue with Twitter.

Perhaps the platforms should allow these apps for modification to flourish. How users see social is increasingly how they see the world. Instead of walking a mile in someone else's shoes, maybe we should spend an hour in their YouTube feed.

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Alternative Social Media Platforms:

Community — a text-based service that launched last year to help corporations, stars, and high-profile individuals facilitate direct conversations with their fans via text messaging “without getting buried by social feeds and algorithms.” Community’s primary users are celebrities (among them: Kerry Washington, Amy Schumer, and Paul McCartney).

Fortnite, a multiplayer video game that has more than 200M users, boasts that up to 8M of them are online at any given time. The game has been called a de facto social network thanks to the role it occupies in the lives of its players. Indeed, half of the teens say they use it to keep up with their friends — some of whom they’ve never actually met in person — with most spending six to 10 hours each week on the platform.

Ello is an online social networking service created by Paul Budnitz and Todd Berger in March 2014 as an ad-free alternative to existing social networks. It has pivoted from its earlier Facebook-like incarnation toward a Pinterest-like website showcasing art, photography, fashion and web culture. 

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Since last week, PrivCo has added:
1,407 Updated Companies | 189 M&A Deals185 Funding Activities

Funding & Deal Highlights:

Natural Beverage Infusions announces an investment from Capital Impetus Group Limited into its premium hard seltzer brand, Vrai. Vrai utilizes high-quality spirits infused with natural flavors to provide consumers with a smoother, premium Ready-to-Drink hard seltzer.

Epic CleanTec, the San Francisco-based sustainability company that has developed a novel approach to onsite wastewater treatment and reuse, announces that it has successfully secured $2.6M in seed funding.

Alydia Health, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based medical device company, raises $13.9M in Series C financing. The round was led by AXA Investment Managers through its Impact Investing Strategy with participation from existing investors Global Health Investment Fund and Avestria Ventures. In conjunction with the financing, Dr. Zina Affas Besse, Managing Partner at Global Health Funds, will join Alydia Health’s board of directors.

A $3M round of seed funding enables LOOM to go beyond its brick-and-mortar center to offer a new digital product and platform for sexual and reproductive wellbeing education that will launch in the fall.

dataPlor, a Los Angeles, CA-based provider of business location data in growing economies, raises $4M in funding. Backers included Space Capital, Quest Venture Partners, and FF Venture Capital.

Herndon-based education company Strategic Education Inc. announces it will acquire Laureate Education’s Australia and New Zealand academic operations for $642.7M in cash.

Crestview Partners is backing Upwell Water LLC, joining other investors to create a $1B provider of capital to finance water industry projects worldwide.

IMB Partners makes a growth equity investment in Ashburn Consulting LLC, a leading Northern Virginia-based information technology consulting firm that specializes in providing network engineering and cybersecurity solutions to federal, state, and local governments and commercial clients. The investment commences a long-term partnership between IMB and Ashburn.

Los Angeles-based Joymode, which runs a consumer-focused, rental service to help people rent--rather than buy--all of the things needed for "experiences" such as a backyard movie night, camping, or virtual reality, has been acquired by New York-based XRC Labs. Financial details of the acquisition were not announced. Joymode was venture-backed by Naspers, TenOneTen, Wonder, Struck Ventures, and Homebrew, and had raised more than $17M in total funding. The company was founded by Joe Fernandez. The company's original intent was to make it easier for people to have experiences without needing to own or store more things.

SinglePoint Inc. says its majority-owned subsidiary, Direct Solar of America LLC, has entered into a letter of intent (LOI) to acquire Standard Eco Solar, a developer and installer of grid-tied solar electric systems in Texas, Illinois, and Arizona for a combination of cash and stock. 

Mimecast Limited, a leading email, and data security company, announces it has acquired eTorch Inc., a messaging security provider with solutions designed to help stop social engineering and human identity attacks with the use of machine learning technology.

Quadient, a leader in helping businesses create meaningful customer connections through digital and physical channels, announces the acquisition of YayPay, a best-in-class and rapidly growing company at the forefront of SaaS accounts receivable (AR) automation solutions. The acquisition of YayPay will expand Quadient’s Business Process Automation offer, notably complementing its cloud-based platform Quadient Impress, a multichannel document automation platform for small and medium businesses.

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