Shots, a Justin Bieber-endorsed app that lets users share selfies, has raised $US8.5 million in funding from WI Harper Group, Launch Fund, Upfront Ventures, 500 Startups, and Rodney Jerkins.
Bieber led Shots’ $US1.1 million seed round last year. He still uses Shots to share selfies with other celebrities, backstage photos at his shows, and pictures of his dog. He also regularly promotes Shots on his Twitter account, which has almost 63 million followers.
His star appeal no doubt gave Shots — which now has more than 5 million users, the Wall Street Journal reports — a boost: for the first few months of Shots’ existence, 90% of Shots users were also following Bieber on Twitter. But now, that number has dropped to less than 10%. And its new funding shows that other investors think the selfie-powered social network has some sticking power.
Shots lets users take and share selfies, which are displayed in a feed like Twitter or Instagram. But unlike Instagram, Shots doesn’t let users leave public comments. You can only respond to a selfie with a picture of your own. There’s no text direct messaging feature. And there’s no way to see how many followers another user has.
Here’s what Shots looks like:
Just this week, Shots gave its users the ability to upload 3-second videos and to find nearby friends on the app. Since most of its users are younger — the average Shots user is 16 — its limited features are intentional, preventing cyberbullying and harassment.
Shots isn’t making money yet but cofounder John Shahidi tells the Journal the company has spoken with advertisers who want to reach Shots’ young userbase.