Our Investment in Mascot
Teens today are spending more of their time with online friends vs. offline friends. Over half consider only the people they’ve known online as friends. As the first generation to be digitally native, Gen-Z uses multiple online identities in pursuit of self-discovery. Over half identify as non-heterosexual (25% gender fluid and 70% LGBTQ+ sexuality fluid) to explore their gender and sexuality. While running Fanpop, I regularly observed this behavior among our teenage user base as well. We had communities for different topics of interest and users wanted to have a unique persona for each of those communities. Our users would sometimes have literally dozens of accounts and personas. They would create unique identities for each fan club they were a part of because they wanted to both remain anonymous but also wanted to show a different side of themselves. It would be very tedious for a user to manage and switch between each identity which would likely have led to a churned user. Mascot allows users to easily switch between multiple personas to participate in various chats across the app.
My friend Will Hsu, co-founder and partner at Mucker Capital, introduced me to the co-founder and CEO of Mascot, Ailin Guo. Mascot allows users to instantly transition between different identities when talking to different communities. When she told me about the app, it all clicked for me because I never quite understood why users would want to have so many accounts on one platform. I thought people had “finstagrams” or fake instagrams for the purposes of spamming or boosting their likes and follows. It hadn’t occurred to me that users were exploring various sides of their own complex identities. Mascot is an app that empowers self-expression for teens. Having seen how important and engaging it can be to have a platform where you can be your full self, I knew that Mascot was something Hyphen had to invest in. The early Mascot engagement numbers are off the charts and are only going to get better as they introduce more features and continue to iterate on the product.