Last year, Naj Austin — founder and CEO of people of color-focused social workspace Ethel’s Club — had a vision to reimagine the way social media platforms work by creating Somewhere Good, a one-stop-shop space for Black and people of color to connect freely online.
This week, Austin and her team announced a $3.75 million seed round to help the platform continue to innovate a digital space where our communities can center our identities.
Other investors who participated include Slauson & Co., NextView Ventures, Ellen Pao (Project Include), Ashley Mayer (Glossier), Toyin Ajayi (Cityblock), Jackie Nelson (Tribe AI), Lindsay Ullman (IAC), Helena Hambrecht (Haus), Tina Bou-Saba (Big Future Fund), Jillian Williams (Cowboy VC) and 2PM Inc.
“I invested in Somewhere Good because I deeply believe in Naj’s vision of building safe and intentional digital spaces,” Union said in a statement. “It’s important to me as a Black woman and mother that we are able to exist comfortably online and authentically connect with one another. It’s been so inspiring to watch the Somewhere Good team bring the vision to life and I can’t wait for other people to experience it.”
The round also included existing investors Dream Machine, Debut Capital and Canvas Ventures.
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In speaking with TechCrunch last year, founder Austin shared her expectations for the new social platform. During her interview, she detailed how she wished to offer a new online experience where Black and people of color could leave behind archaic social media practices, and prioritize group interactions to create a new sense of community in the digital world.
“A lot of how we’re talking about Somewhere Good with investors is this idea of a new online world where our identities are centered,” she shared. “The vision for Somewhere Good is you take your phone out of your pocket and, as a Black person or person of color, all of your needs are met there in that one place.”
Austin launched her other company, Ethel’s Club, back in November of 2019 as a Brooklyn-based social and wellness club for people of color. After its digital model grew in popularity during the height of the pandemic, Somewhere Good was founded shortly after as a direct response to the lack of platforms in the tech landscape that provide end-to-end experiences centering identity, safety and collaboration.
“The current digital solutions prioritize a predominantly white, cisgender, heterosexual experience,” Austin said in a statement. “Somewhere Good is challenging that reality by centering the rest of us with a community-first perspective.”
To date, the company currently has a growing waitlist of over 5,000 members with plans to launch its beta app later this year.
For more information about Somewhere Good, click here.