Remember Ello? It’s the social network that caused a stir last summer and gave promise to people hoping for an ad-free alternative to Facebook.
Though initially popular, enthusiasm for Ello dropped off a few months after it started. But while the tech media was still buzzing over the site, Ello snagged $5.5 million in funding. Since then the company has accrued an additional $5 million and refreshed its user interface. In its first iteration Ello was difficult to navigate, but the startup has since introduced a way to search for friends and discover new people to follow.
Now, it’s breaking out an iOS app. “With dozens of new features including real-time alerts and new ways to find your friends, the Ello app is the best way to be inspired and share what matters most,” the company wrote in an email.
The app is set to debut on June 18 in the App Store. It will be interesting to see if Ello can harness the droves of early adopters it initially attracted.
Even if it can’t, there’s still opportunity for Ello to appeal to users who have been burned by other platforms. The LGBT community, for instance, has had difficulty in the last year or so with social networking apps like Facebook and Tinder. Here Ello, which prides itself on accepting everyone, has an advantage. The site has doesn’t track users, doesn’t host ads, and doesn’t require users to identify themselves.
Whether it will ever be able to monetize its platform is yet another question the startup will eventually have to answer.