Remember Olivia Joslin and Hannah Wei? We left the two Wellesley College students working on CliqBit, a social media app where the members of Generation Z – aged 21 or below – could share their silly moments without the pressure of showing a “perfect” life.
About 18 months later, many things have changed. Joslin and Wei have both turned 21, went through the Babson Summer Venture Program and decided not to pursue their original venture (partially, because of the growing competition of Snapchat). Instead, they’re working on a new startup, which has still a lot to do with Generation Z but retains from the social media app only the name.
The new version of CliqBit provides a database of teenagers that large companies can contact to let them test features or new products. After all, the teens of today represent a crucial chunk of the market for companies selling fashion, music, books, food, technology, even financial services. Making the youth attached to the brand is crucial, but companies don’t always know how to get a hold of teens.
“Gen Z teens… They’re not on Facebook, they don’t answer their phones when you call them, you can’t email them,” Wei said in an interview.
Currently, a company can ask CliqBit to get in touch with a specific profile of teens depending on the product they’re testing, like “20 male participants who play six to ten hours of gaming a week” located in a certain area, Joslin said. From that moment on, CliqBit will collect and verify the identity of the participants, and handle all organizational things from there, including payments.
“So the researchers, essentially, can quickly have a turnaround… and conduct their research without any of the distracting variables: searching for their participants, or paying and following up with their participants, or reminding these participants to show up on time,” Joslin said.
CliqBit is the only entity that teens have online contacts with, a measure to protect their privacy (and, of course, the exclusivity that CliqBit has on its database). According to the company, teens have fun engaging with the CliqBit platform and parents are happy that they got an opportunity “in a safe way, move out and see what the real world is like,” Wei said.
The company said that they currently have four paid trial projects with companies in tech and mobile development.