A new Berlin based startup called Flowsee is hoping to take advantage of Facebook fatigue by offering users a social network with a local angle and curated multimedia. Flowsee is a mashup of Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit.
The Flowsee social network has multiple category pages like music, tech and photography. In each of the categories users can upload photos and videos that are relevant to that category or whatever other categories they like. Pictures, links and videos are then voted up or down in a way similar to both Digg and Reddit with the most “likes” getting to the top of the page.
While the site is stating out and focused on Berlin, the company feels that it’s readily scalable. Back in late October they told us that they had already surpassed 10,000 users per month.
Like some other social networking projects, while Flowsee has a definite infrastructure to it, they are letting early adopters use the social network the way that they want to. For instance, vendors at the Mauer Park Flea Market has started using the platform to post their handmade and vintage goods for sale. Co-founder Olivier Jarfas told Silicon Allee that it didn’t take long for the vendors to start adding photos and even videos to their pages.
We all know that Facebook isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, they past the billion users mark last year and continue to move forward despite the fact that their stock market price is a lot lower than they had hoped. Nibletz co-founder and CEO Nick Tippmann also reported earlier this week that Facebook may be perceived by teenagers as “for older people”.
As a result more and more social networks are popping up. Most of the newer social networks are finding verticals to launch in like food, academia and careers.
As for Flowsee, we got a chance to talk with the Berlin based team. Check out the interview below.
What is Flowsee?
Flowsee is a sharing network. It’s a completely open website where users can share their stories, images, videos and links. But Flowsee is more than this: it reinvents the social networking platform by enabling top quality posts to ascend from obscurity to reach the whole world.
In layman’s terms, how does it work? (In other words how would you explain it to your grandmother)
Well Nana, there’s this thing called the internet. It’s where people go to look at pictures of cats. Flowsee has cats too, but there’s more to it than that. Anyone, whether registered or not, can browse Flowsee’s pages and check out user profiles. Registered users can post images, videos, text, links, and more, as well as “like” or “dislike” other posts. The more “liked” a post is, the closer it gets to the top.
That means you don’t have to scroll for hours and hours in search of good tweets or posts anymore, it’s right there in front of your eyes! And, as you are free to share everything on Flowsee, you can even use it to promote your work. Share some pictures of your knitting and if people like it, you might get some new clients! Maybe you’ll even become famous! Yes Nana, yes you can!
Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?
The two founders are Chris Fischer, the Business Manager, and Olivier Jarfas, the Project Manager. They are originally from France and moved to Berlin at the beginning of 2012 to start the company. Their varied backgrounds encompass business management, finance, and law. Chris and Olivier have known each other since secondary school, and maintain a high degree of trust that is a pivotal element in the business.
Where are you based?
Berlin. We’re definitely the only startup … on this block.
What’s the startup scene/culture like where you’re based?
The startup scene in Berlin is skyrocketing. Throw a piece of Schnitzel anywhere and you’ll find one. There’s even a Schnitzel-throwing startup.
How did you come up with the idea for Flowsee?
It came out of our frustration with the limitations of other social networking/content websites. While we love other sites like Reddit, Facebook, etc., we started growing tired of their restrictions. Facebook is great for connecting with people, but with no way to filter quality content, it’s easy to become irritated by an Instagram-filled newsfeed and a high school acquaintance’s 20th status about how cool his mom is. It’s the opposite with Reddit. Easy to access top-quality content, but difficult to connect and converse with people due to its barely-there profile system and mass anonymity. We wanted to change that.
How did you come up with the name?
We first came up with the idea of a website which people could use as a television: content evolving in real-time, different channels based on interests, and the possibility of choosing the program (posts) you wanted to see. In our mind, it was something very close to the idea of a stream, or a flow.
We went through an incredibly high amount of unpronounceable names (with a special mention to woxflow) until we finally stopped at the right moment. Flowsee. You see the flow, makes sense, no?
What problem does Flowsee solve?
Flowsee bypasses the limitations of the big social networking websites, and enables users to access quality content AND wield a powerful and completely open profile system.
What does that mean exactly? Imagine you’re launching a hand-made jewellery business. How will you find and attract customers online? You can create a blog or a website, but this will not help you to get known. You can create a facebook or twitter profile, but on these platforms, users won’t discover things they were not looking for, so if you’re not famous already you won’t get fans/followers very easily.
On Flowsee, the popular content becomes more visible automatically. A little Scottish rock band can, with a good music video, can be on the top of the page for a good chunk of time, and will therefore be seen by everyone. In short, Flowsee helps people and their content reach much larger audiences and win the attention of completely unfamiliar users. As 99% of us are not famous, it can be really useful.
What’s your secret sauce?
Sriracha and liquefied gummy worms. Goes great with a Fritz Kola.
Are you bootstrapped or funded?
Bootstrapped! Although we are currently seeking funding and are very optimistic about our chances. We have a nice product, and more and more users and visitors are utilizing the site (we are significantly surpassing 10.000 visitors per month now!). We are also launching a new monetization initiative this week. We have a good feeling about it.
What’s one challenge you’ve overcome in the startup process?
Generating interest is up there. How do you put your tiny little url on the map? And with no funding? Tricky tricky. Launching a social network can seem a little bit crazy these days. It’s like opening a new pizzeria in Rome. But when you come up with a new recipe, something which just tastes better, there will definitively be some people at your table. We attacked this challenge in a few different ways.
To attract a larger audience, we are experimenting with new ideas every day. Currently, we are using three principles to help our community grow bigger everyday:
-Be useful for our users: Flowsee is a place for sharing, but it’s also a place for bringing together people who can mutually benefit from each other. For example, it’s particularly useful for job seekers and employers.
-Be free: We are offering this service for free to make it possible for everybody to participate. Although, as with many other websites, there are some advanced services which can be purchased for a small fee.
-Be focused: we are not trying to conquer the whole world in 2 weeks. We are focusing on Berlin and its large community of expats, and offering them interesting services, relevant information, and exciting local content.
Who are some of your mentors and business role models?
We’re in constant discussion with some big guys in the social media industry (Steve Cadigan at LinkedIn) and we’ve already contacted some tech investors (Andrea Zurek) who seem to show a certain interest for Flowsee. But we’re still just talking. At our very early stage we are looking for some major industry players willing to mentor us if they find our platform meaningful and compelling. We’re very open to any valuable feedbacks and are grateful for any contacts we make, so feel free to get in touch as we are actively looking for an experienced mentor.
What’s next for Flowsee?
We’ve got something big coming up. Revolutionary even. It will probably create world peace and revive the dinosaurs. We’re currently designing a new “Buy It” button which users can activate to appear right on their posts. It will exponentially simplify the selling and buying process for both businesses and individuals. A company can promote and sell their new brand of toothpaste, and a user can sell his dog’s favorite chew toy. Easy peasy. But shhhhhhhhh… this isn’t online yet.
Where can people find out more?
Our site! – http://www.Flowsee.com Our Facebook ! – http://www.facebook.com/Flowsee