Snap Inc’s Need for Innovation
Snap Inc. has been in desperate need of a fresh idea. The company has been struggling as popular social media apps continue to include Snapchat features on their platforms. Facebook and Instagram have both introduced facial-recognition filters and Stories, stealing market share from Snapchat users. When talking to my friends, they agree that the inclusion of Stories on Instagram has changed the way they share media. Even though Snapchat Stories have been around for years, Instagram now allows them to reach more followers and offers more editing options for photos. From Q1 to Q2 in 2018, Snapchat has lost 3 million users according to Statista. This loss of users does not help Snapchat’s social media sector, as the company generates most of its profits through ad revenue.
Introducing Snapchat Yellow
To find a new way to attract users, Snap Inc. announced the launch of their new initiative Yellow in May 2018. In their press release, Snap described Yellow as a “launchpad for creative minds and entrepreneurs who are looking to build the next generation of great media companies.”
Yellow is a startup accelerator that aims to fuel innovation by inviting creative teams or individuals to apply for the program with ideas from three main areas: interactive content, AR experience, or media for narrative storytelling. Snap will reward the winning entrepreneurs with a $150,000 investment, commercial support, mentorship from industry executives, and a creative office space in Venice, California. The winning ideas also have the opportunity to be featured and distributed on Snapchat. The teams will take on a 3-month residency at Snap’s headquarters, with the Fall 2018 class beginning their projects in September.
Fall 2018 Inaugural Class
The first 9 companies included in Snapchat Yellow are diverse and exciting. A few of the promising ideas include ANRK, SelfieCircus, and Premme.
ANRK is a studio that produces immersive storytelling through AR, VR, and video games. The London studio is passionate about creating unique productions in collaboration with organizations to have a real world impact. Previous work includes “The Party,” a VR experience based on the lives of autistic women, and “Experience Barcelona,” a 4D VR game that allows users to glide, skateboard, or race in 360 degrees.
SelfieCircus designs pop-up events created specifically for sharing on social media. The interactive exhibits will be accessible for artists, brands, and consumers to create unique content. The platform will be using social media to connect these users in person.
Premme is a fashion lifestyle brand for plus-size women that aims to gain more media recognition for all body types. This platform is using its brand to change the conversation in fashion and beauty industries. Their collaboration and backing from Snapchat will only serve to address challenges for plus-sized women in fashion.
Collaboration for a Greater Cause
Snapchat’s introduction of Yellow reminded me of TED’s The Audacious Project. As I mentioned in my presentation last week, TED Conference launched a similar initiation this year in which they created a platform for collaborative philanthropy. The Audacious Project invites any and all to apply with their idea for creating positive change in the world. The winners of The Audacious Project this year range from missions to explore the ocean’s undiscovered Twilight Zone to plans for helping African farmers grow more crops each year. TED has a goal to provide $600 million in funding from major organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and already raised $400 million. Similar to Snapchat Yellow, the winners of The Audacious Project gain access to support from TED, their corporate connections, as well as access to the network of previous TED speakers and their resources.
However, TED has a much broader goal than Snap. TED is able to support any ideas that they believe will benefit our world. Snapchat, on the other hand, is hoping to supplement their ad revenue with big ideas from up and coming digital entrepreneurs.
Another consideration is how Snap Inc’s model compares to their competitor’s initiatives to get involved with the startup community. Facebook has an existing program, FbStart, that helps developers grow their business. Through technical support, an online forum, and in-person events, FbStart gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to a unique community in which they can develop their apps. Applicants can apply for a range of businesses including games and social good apps. Furthermore, Facebook has partners in Amazon Web Services, Dropbox, and MailChimp who offer exclusive benefits to FbStart members. Yellow, in comparison, is a platform that aims to help a wide range of creative teams bring success to their ideas, while at the same time hoping for an increase in Snap Inc’s revenue.
I’m excited to see where this venture goes in the future. It will be interesting to see if Snapchat begins to include these VR and media projects in their social media app, or if they will launch a new sector of Snap Inc. altogether. Either way, this initiation is a fantastic way to inspire creatives from around the world and will certainly foster innovation.