Today, we’re excited to announce that Twenty and Mappen have officially joined forces to accelerate our collective mission to use technology to improve people’s social lives by helping them connect in person. By combining our diverse, well-rounded teams, complementary products, strategic partnerships and deep commitment to our shared vision, we are poised to make a tangible impact on the major increase in loneliness, anxiety and depression by enabling people to spend more time with their friends in real life. Our goal is not to build another social network; it is to actually make people more social.
The reality of today’s digitally connected generation
People are inherently social creatures. The reason tables are pre-set for two at a restaurant isn’t because they are optimized to get food to their customers in the most efficient manner possible, they are designed to foster social interactions.
We have never been more digitally connected than we currently are but compared to past generations people today are spending significantly less time socializing in real-life. The number of times per week teens hang out with their friends in real life has gone down 22% in the last 8 years, The Atlantic.
The proliferation of social media has led to a mindset of sharing past moments or experiences with followers and “connecting” with others digitally. As a result, more people are using digital interactions to replace real-life experiences, and we believe that is a critical factor driving some of the negative unintended consequences around anxiety, loneliness and depression that are apparent in today’s environment. According to a recent report by Hill Holiday, 41% of Gen-Zers say social media makes them feel sad, anxious, or depressed; 72% say people their age are too distracted by social media; and 64% said they are taking a break from social media. Collectively we have reached a point where the amount of time we spend online is not just producing diminishing returns, but it is actually having adverse effects on our mental and emotional well-being.
The silver lining — even as people find value in what they can share digitally, there’s a growing appetite and movement, particularly among Gen Z and Millennials, to unplug and spend time together in the real world. We believe that latent demand will fuel the antidote to the adverse effects of over digital-connection and ultimately help people strengthen and expand their real-life relationships.
Multiple studies show that people who engage in frequent, meaningful in-person interactions feel less lonely and report better mental health and happiness than those who interact less with others face-to-face. According to the 2018 Monitoring the Future Survey, published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, those who spend an above-average amount of time with their friends in person are 20 percent less likely to say they’re unhappy than those who hang out for a below-average amount of time.
Twenty and Mappen collectively saw an opportunity to build a new kind of social platform. We built a product experience at the intersection of friends and real-life experiences that is driving more human connection by making it easier to coordinate plans and create new opportunities for friends to meet up.
We are committed to helping people increase the number of in-person interactions they have by allowing them to see which of their friends are around, what they are doing now and later, discover nearby events and coordinate real-life plans seamlessly through our product experience. We believe that intention and focus drives our ability to realize outcomes, that’s why we are very clear and focused on what we are trying to accomplish. The KPI we optimize for most is not time-spent using our product, but rather increasing the number of real-life experiences that are a result of that usage.
Why we’re joining forces
Twenty and Mappen were each born from our collective desire to address a deep need that we observed in our own experiences.
With Twenty, Diesel consistently felt like he was hearing about groups of friends meeting up after the fact or seeing a post about something that already happened. He had been searching for a quicker and better way to coordinate getting together with his various groups of friends in New York, and was tired of trying to make plans through a tangled web of group text — which meant they regularly fell through.
Meanwhile, Jared and Mappen co-founder Jayson Ahlstrom had built various successful start-ups to address the teenage market, and had seen wild success in particular with their interactive mobile games among teens. As parents of children entering their teens, Jared and Jayson saw a need to bridge the social gap that was being created by their increasing dependence on digital social spaces. They also wanted to apply their understanding of the youth market to create something that would make teen social life better than what it had become. Turning social media on its ear to make it easy to find their friends and coordinate getting together in real life was the clear solution for both.
Diesel and Twenty co-founder, Mark French (serial entrepreneur and founder of NBC’s location based network NBC Everywhere), built the technology to make it easy for people to find their friends and coordinate plans to get together. Diesel and Mark wanted to give people the best options for things to do when they get together, so they garnered backing and strategic partnerships with some of the top entertainment and experience companies in the world. Those included Live Nation, Endeavor, Roc Nation and TAO, who produce a combined 10,000 events and reach over 100 million fans annually to introduce their fans to Twenty. A quote from Endeavor President Mark Shapiro:
“We invested early in Twenty because we saw the tremendous value it can generate for our talent and events. Since then, Twenty’s growth has been strong, delivering on their promise to connect groups of friends through real-world experiences. We’re excited for our continued collaboration.”
With each of our four co-founders bringing unique and complementary skill sets to the business, across Organic Growth, Technology, Design, Strategy, Brand and Operations, we’re well-positioned to propel Twenty’s swift growth and continued product innovation. Here’s how we’ll be dividing our areas of focus:
- Diesel Peltz, CEO (Driving the Vision & Overseeing the Management Team)
- Mark French, President (Operations, Marketing, Strategic Partnerships and M&A)
- Jared Allgood, Chief Strategy Officer (Data, Design, and Product Partnerships & Integrations)
- Jayson Ahlstrom, Chief Product Officer (Product Development & Product Growth)
The new Twenty
The new Twenty is a hybrid of the best features from both Twenty and Mappen. Twenty is great at helping people organize hangouts and offering fun, relevant things for users to do in their area. Mappen is great at allowing people to show what they are doing in a light-weight low-risk way. We’ve incorporated all of these key features to provide users with the best combined experience.
On Twenty, you can’t share anything that happened in the past — you can only share what you’re doing now or what you plan to do in the future. This is a conscious choice to focus the experience and culture of our product around what is still yet to come rather than building a new tool to share what has already happened. The two things we think about most in our product experience is how we can reduce friction of getting people together in person — and most importantly — how we create completely new opportunities for friends to hang out.
Privacy and security are top priorities and at the core of the Twenty experience. From being able to choose when and with whom updates are shared, to ensuring a trusted and friendly environment, the safety of our users is inherent in everything we build.
The opportunity ahead
Since combining our two companies nearly a month ago and releasing the new Twenty, we’ve seen very strong organic momentum out of the gate.
We have been conducting product testing and marketing activations at major entertainment and sporting events in collaboration with our strategic partners to determine the most effective way to help our users discover things to do with their friends, enhance the overall event experience and ultimately introduce Twenty to their hundreds of millions of fans.
As we move forward as a combined company, we will be tapping into the power of our strategic partnerships, and impassioned, mission-driven backing from the likes of Arianna Huffington & Rande Gerber, who will be joining the Twenty board. A quote from Arianna, Founder & CEO Thrive Global:
“The next big social app isn’t going to be social media — it’s going to be about using technology to connect us in real life. Several companies have tried, but the new Twenty is actually getting Millennials and GenZ to meet up with friends in real life. It’s not about sharing content — it’s about sharing experiences.”
We are excited to continue to embark on our mission of improving people’s social lives!
-Diesel Peltz & Jared Allgood