Nextt is still in private beta but peeked out to announce $700,000 in seed funding and reveal some details about the product.
The application gives people tools to connect with friends around real-world events, experiences, or outings. Right now, the go-to planning mechanisms are social networks, email chains, or group messaging, and none of these are particularly efficient. Nextt’s platform allows people to rally their friends to see a movie, go for a hike, or coordinate a night out dancing, and it simplifies all the back-and-forth communication.
“Nextt is the next step in the evolution of social media,” said president and cofounder Mark McGuire in an exclusive interview with VentureBeat. “There is an incredible pressure to perform on social media today — to present a specific version of ourselves, to say and do all the right things, and to focus on what we’ve accomplished. We’re losing our ability to live in the moment as we’re carefully documenting our lives across feeds, hashtags, pics, and more. The social web has given us incredible new ways to share our past or present; why don’t we have a service to help us create our future?”
McGuire is a serial entrepreneur who previously founded NameProtect.com, which was acquired by Corporation Services Company, and Jellyfish.com, which was acquired by Microsoft. He spent his career in the tech world and watched as social media came to dominate people’s lives. Multiple thought leaders have addressed this “social web hangover,” or state of “superconnectedness,” which can have negative effects. McGuire said symptoms include the following:
- Pressure to perform choreographed versions of ourselves online, creating feelings of envy, jealousy, and Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
- An inability to live in the moment as we digitally archive our lives
- Difficulty in shedding connections formed in earlier stages of life (high school classmates, former partners, etc.) from our digital friendship graph
- A focus on the self that encourages narcissism and reduces empathy
- Anxiety about maintaining hundreds of superficial digital relationships and leaving less time to foster deeper, face-to-face relationships
- Feelings of loneliness and isolation
- A desire to spend more time doing things in the real world and less time online
After researching this issue extensively, McGuire and cofounder Emmanuel Buah wanted to create technology that would get people out from behind their screens and actively engaging in real-world activities.
If users are already feeling social media fatigue, I question whether they will want to add another social network into the mix even if it is for offline activities. That said, plenty of entrepreneurs think there is an opportunity here. A not-yet-launched startup called MoveTogether is building a mobile app to make discovering and organizing casual activities as easy as possible, and Hangtime, UpTo, Ketchup, and features on social media sites, like Facebook events, also address the same issue.
Nextt will launch later this year. Venture Investors and Great Oaks Venture Capital led this round. The company currently has seven employees and is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin.
Photo Credit: Nextt