French Social Media App Yubo Raises $47.5 Million

By Bruce Harpham Tuesday, November 24, 2020

A new social media network, Yubo, is moving away from the influencer-based style of older social networks. With an estimated 40 million users, Yubo focuses on livestreams. In its Series C funding round, the company raised $47.5 million in funding. The company aims to become the main online destination for Generation Z.

How Yubo Makes Money

With about $20 million in revenue, Yubo has already started to generate money from its Generation Z demographic. The platform is available to users in two forms: free and paid versions. The paid version of the app gives users additional capabilities, such as increased visibility.

Initially, the company operated mainly as a smartphone app. In late 2019 and early 2020, speculation that Yubo would launch a web version or "Yubo Web" of the product began. So far, there is no clear indication of when the company will offer this feature.

As of late November 2020, Yubo offers several types of in-app purchases for users:

  • Boosts. Described as "purchasable power up," a user who buys a boost will increase their livestreamed video’s visibility. This feature is roughly similar to the "Page Boost" advertising option on Facebook.
  • Spotlights. These premium features increase how many people see a user's profile. By using the "Start Spotlight" feature, users usually receive more messages.
  • Turbos. This paid feature increases a user's profile for 30 minutes and gives users "the opportunity to quickly meet more people."

Yubo directly charges users to access the premium features described above, and prices vary depending on the country their app is used in. Yubo is available in multiple countries such as France, Australia, and the United States. At this time, users can buy access to premium features (i.e., “Yubo Power Backs”) weekly, monthly, or every three months. Billing is handled through the Apple and Android app stores.

How the 25 and Under Crowd Uses Yubo

Messaging, posting videos, and sharing live videos are some of the platform’s most popular uses. Since its founding in 2015, Yubo users have shared over two billion messages on the platform. Furthermore, the app has shared millions of videos in its livestreaming efforts.

Video game livestreaming, popularized by Twitch, is another possible future direction for the company. At this time, the company has not indicated any specific plans to develop this feature. Adding video game streaming to the platform would give it access to a lucrative market. As of 2019, Grand View Research estimates that the video game streaming market was worth more than $40 billion.

Yubo’s Protections for Younger Users

Catering to a younger audience of online users carries some difficulties. For example, younger users may not have the means to pay for premium features on their own. That’s why Yubo has a large section of its frequently asked questions website dedicated to the buyer — parents.

Yubo’s protections for users include the following:

  • No Anonymous Users. According to the Yubo website: “new users have to provide their real name, mobile number (to which we send a verification code), date of birth, gender, location and a real photo that shows their face.”
  • Age-Based Communities. The app has a separate community section designed for teenagers, separate from the rest of the community. In addition, the app has followed the steps of Facebook by requiring users to be 13 years of age before they can use it.
  • Parental Permission Requirement. Technically, the company’s policy states, “As we state in our Terms of Service, if you are between 13 and 17 years old, you are not allowed to create a user profile without the permission of your legal representative.” It is unclear how this parental permission is obtained or verified, however.

Yubo Comes Under Fire for Privacy

Like other social media companies, Yubo is struggling with the question of privacy. Fundamentally, the company would not be able to operate if users insisted on strict secrecy.

Researchers at Dublin City University in Ireland found two potential problems in the platform. First, users are sharing content on the platform to Snapchat and Instagram. Therefore, users’ data may be shared much more widely than they think. The researchers also found that "half of the eight most frequently used emojis were categorized as having a sexual meaning," according to the Irish Times.

The research is troubling because a significant number of app users are under the age of 18. As a result, users and the company may face legal and ethical problems. The researchers encourage parents to discuss app usage with their children. For its part, Yubo is working at removing sexually illicit content from the platform.

About the Author


Headshot for author Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is an author and marketing consultant based in Canada. His first book "Project Managers At Work" shared real-world success lessons from NASA, Google, and other organizations. His articles have been published in CIO.com, InfoWorld, Canadian Business, and other organizations. Visit BruceHarpham.com for articles, interviews with tech leaders, and updates on future books.

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