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Student app Jodel receives six million - and wants to expand into the USA

The student app Jodel has been in public several times in the past few months. For example, when a Munich user reported live on the network how he caught his girlfriend having an affair. Or when the yodel users donated to help a homeless person.

In university cities like Aachen or Bonn, the social network, in which one can post anonymously, is very popular. The app is also popular in countries like Sweden and Saudi Arabia. There are a total of five million posts per day, says founder Alessio Avellan Borgmeyer when asked. He does not reveal any further figures.

With a new round of financing, Jodel now wants to grow further - and dares to take the step in the USA. For this, the startup has collected six million euros from Silicon Valley, as the Handelsblatt first reported. Investors include Adam di Angelo, Facebook's first CTO and founder of the Quora questions network, and the Floodgate Fund. The VC was involved in the Twitch gaming platform, for example. The old investors Rocket Internet with Global Founders Capital, Atlantic Internet and the Latvian VC Rubylight are also pulling along.

The move to the USA is remarkable, after all, yodel has its roots in the USA. Jodel founder Avellan Borgmeyer in California also started a social network, the Snapchat alternative called TellM. But there was no success. He went back to Germany and tried his luck again, first concentrating on German universities. "TellM wasn't location-specific back then, it was a completely different product," the founder says in retrospect. With yodelling it should now succeed.

The US startup Yikyak - the role model of Jodel - was given up a few months ago and the team was sold to Square. "An important difference is that we rely on our own moderators," says Avellan Borgmeyer. In particular, the moderators from their own community would quickly delete offensive posts, for example. Yikyak had to struggle with scandals again and again. At the beginning, yodel had to struggle with the so-called porn yodel Sunday. Too many users shared pornographic images over the network - Apple unceremoniously threw them out of the app store for the time being

In the past few months, the Berlin company also wanted to grow in the existing markets. In countries like Saudi Arabia, for example, there was a viral effect, says the yodel maker. At first there would only have been 100 to 200 users - and suddenly the downloads should have exploded. The founder did not want to comment on how many there are now.

How the company will one day earn money is still open. Jodel focuses on “gaining good users,” says Avellan Borgmeyer. The founder believes that if these users write more relevant posts, that would attract new users to the network. Advertising that is played based on location is obvious, but that is not yet clear. “In any case, yodelling remains free,” says the founder (picture below).

Image: Instagram


Meet Alessio Avellan Borgmeyer, founder of Jodel, at the HEUREKA Founders Conference on June 20 in Berlin.