Fizz, a social app founded by two Stanford University students, is increasingly finding favor with Gen Z on university campuses.
What Happened: Fizz was founded by Teddy Solomon and Ashton Cofer "at Stanford in the summer of 2021," according to the app's webpage.
On Oct.4, Fizz closed a $4.5 million seed round. Using this fund, the app plans to expand its reach to more campuses. Fizz is used by 95% of Stanford undergraduates, going by the app's Instagram handle.
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Fizz — which serves as an anonymous forum for discussion on campus life — has its origins in the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a time when living on campus or engaging in social activities was unsafe. As a result, it became challenging to make friends or feel a part of a community.
“We essentially got to Stanford and felt extremely disconnected from Stanford. There’s so much social anxiety,” Solomon told TechCrunch.
The report added that he, along with 1,200 students, was “put into a GroupMe”, where, “four people talked probably.”
So, Solomon decided to build an app for college students to reduce the students' loneliness and foster meaningful connections on campus.
Why It's Important: Silicon Valley veteran Rakesh Mathur joined Fizz as CEO and invested $750,000 in it. Mathur also led Fizz’s recent $4.5-million seed investment round.
The Reddit-like, anonymous college-only social app is now present on campuses such as Rice, Elon, Dartmouth, Wake Forest, Chapman, and Tulane. By the end of the 2023 academic year, Fizz hopes to be present on more than a thousand U.S. campuses.
Fizz also has some similarities with Facebook, owned by Meta Platforms Inc. META. In 2004, Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg launched the college-focused social network from his Harvard University dorm room when he was a student, much like the founders of Fizz.
The growing popularity of Fizz on campuses also comes at a time when China-based TikTok has emerged as a serious contender to the likes of Meta's Facebook and Instagram and Snap Inc.’s SNAP Snapchat.
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