Social app IRL makes its first acquisition with deal for digital nutrition company AaBeZe Labs

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SoftBank-backed social app and most recently Unicorn IRL is announcing its first acquisition today. The company is buying a “digital nutrition” company for an undisclosed amount. Abez Labs and its portfolio of IPs with the goal of making IRL a healthier and more ethically designed social networking app.

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Ebaze founder Michael Phillips Moskovitz, eBay’s former “Global Chief Curator”, and former Medium product lead Brad Artizinega, along with other members of the Ebaze team, will also join. IRL, where they will focus on building out its Discovery System and other product features.

Primarily used by young people under the age of 25 who are not active on Facebook, IRL combines social calendaring, group messaging, and events. While the company originally focused on helping users discover real-world events, it shifted its focus to virtual events amid the pandemic. Today, it offers both, and has become a more complete social networking app, thanks to the recent introduction of features such as group chats, user profiles, group calendars, and cross-platform support, among other things.


Prior to the acquisition, IRL laid out a course for monetization that would not include advertising, which it sees as problematic for building a healthy social app. Ad-driven revenue requires companies to increase the time spent in their apps by designing experiences that make users addicted. IRL instead aims to make money by connecting users to their interests – such as the purchase of paid memberships or event tickets to a community, for example, where it can deduct the revenue generated from that sale.

It now sees the potential to use AABZ’s technology to make even better recommendations about the events and communities its users are interested in, while being more transparent with users about why those recommendations are being made. Is. This would set it apart from today’s social networks, where it is not always clear why users are viewing the content that appears in their feed.

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image credit: Abez Labs/IRL

AaBeZe Labs developed a portfolio of IP addresses that included solutions aimed at consumers, US military personnel and enterprise partners. This included digital products such as consumer-facing apps. mudrise, for mood-tracking, a mobile tool called . is called dawn Make For the US Air Force and Moodtube, which analyzed YouTube content and more. The company had also applied for 16 patents, of which three have been granted and 13 of which are in various stages of approval. And it owns the trademark, “Certified Digital Nutrition”.

Much of its work involved learning about its understanding of how users became aware of “digital nutrition” and how it affected our brain psychology. In turn, this knowledge can also be used to address and prevent habits that led to problematic Internet use and other risky behavior.

image credit: Abez Labs/IRL

This is in contrast to how modern social networks were created to capitalize on the psychology of addiction – for example, a pull-to-refresh gesture or one that provided fresh content, also an addictive dose of dopamine. provides. (Documentary film “social dilemma, “You might remember, detailing the many ways big technology designed products to manipulate its users.)

IRL was particularly interested in AaBeZee’s Daybreak, a mobile calendar where users track their moods over time. They could then choose daily sessions designed to upgrade their modes by watching, listening, or tapping through specific doses of content.

image credit: Daybreak by Abez Labs

“We are focused on bringing intimacy to the Internet and essentially learning from our predecessors. Right now, social media uses these tips to understand dopamine release [and] Abraham Shafi, founder and CEO of IRL, explains that it takes serotonin release for us to compulsively form habits and habitual patterns around unhealthy things. “We are very interested No Participating in that, but actually, doing the literal opposite—which is helping you form healthy habits, is helping you form meaningful habits, not only with yourself but with your friends.”

Shafi says IRL plans to integrate DeBeek’s technology into its app, so that one day, users can launch the app and then be matched with content based on how they’re feeling that day. Users can launch the app and be asked to report their mood, for example, as did users of Daybreak.

“It really only works with direct input – that would be the way we are doing it. So there is a clear understanding between the user and the content they are receiving,” Shafi says.

The company plans to begin the first integration of AABZ’s technology sometime in the first half of next year.

AaBeZe Labs was just over two years old at the time of the acquisition and had raised a little over $1 million from investors.

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