SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--IRL (In Real Life), the leading group messaging social network that brings people together through events and shared experiences, today announced a $170M Series C Round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2* with participation from new investor Dragoneer, and returning investors Goodwater Capital, Founders Fund, Floodgate and Owl Capital. The oversubscribed round brings IRL’s total funding to more than $200M to-date and cements the company’s unicorn status with a $1.17B valuation. In addition to the company’s funding, IRL announced its new Culture and Creator Fund along with new expanded Group Messaging features, broadening its in-app experience to deepen everyone’s ability to connect with friends, family and discover new friends based on shared interests.
Over the course of 15 months, the just two-year-old company experienced 400% growth and recognized the immense appetite for group chats and messaging conversations through its Groups feature, which launched in November 2020. IRL claims over 12 million monthly active users on its platform, and as we emerge into a post-COVID society, IRL is committed to continuing to provide its users with valuable real life social interaction. An extension of Groups, the new Culture and Creator Fund is inspired by the overwhelming success of IRL’s college network that launched last fall and now claims more than one million users throughout North America. Bringing IRL’s offerings to a larger audience, igniting economic recovery and restoring in-person social interaction, the Culture and Creator Fund will help finance local events and social activities for users in cities across the US.
“Human beings instinctively orient themselves within groups, and with real social connection, it's natural that we gravitate towards - and connect through - messaging tools. Our goal at IRL is to forge ahead, double down and create the future of group messaging. At a high level, the future of group messaging has deep toolsets and is wrapped in a social network,” said Abraham Shafi, CEO and Co-Founder of IRL. “Our primary goal at IRL has always been to create more authentic and organic communities, which is why we are looking to evolve the way humans interact with groups and events online in order to provide people with a platform that encourages conversation and naturally builds engaging interaction in both real or virtual settings.”
Since launching in 2019, IRL now coordinates two million events per day, second only to Facebook. What’s more, IRL users have spent over 300 million hours together through the app and clocked more than one billion messages sent. With this new injection of capital, IRL plans to continue to grow its team, scale the company and expand its user base internationally.
“People are increasingly seeking more in-person social connections and are looking to share meaningful experiences together. As an innovative event-based social network, IRL sits at the intersection of group and event discovery, social calendaring, and group messaging, enabling people to do more together,” said Serena Dayal, Director at SoftBank Investment Advisers. “We are excited to partner with Abraham and the IRL team to support their ambition of helping everyone deepen their connections to friends and family.”
This funding news, coupled with the expansion of in-app features and the recent TikTok partnership, validates IRL as a pioneer at the forefront of the next generation of social networking. The company remains committed to creating opportunities for people to spend more time together and to experience the social interactions that we have all missed for the past year. A major focus for the company will be to support the new Culture and Creator Fund in an effort to help bring back connections as life starts to normalize in a post-pandemic world.
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IRL is building a group messaging social network.
As of the date of this press release, SoftBank Group Corp. has made capital contributions to allow investments by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 (“SVF 2”) in certain portfolio companies. The information included herein is made for informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy limited partnership interests in any fund, including SVF 2. SVF 2 has yet to have an external close, and any potential third-party investors shall receive additional information related to any SVF 2 investments prior to closing.