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Social Apps that are exciting to Josh Elman in 2013...

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Crownwell Schubarth asks Josh Elman: "What excites you about what is happening in social today?"

Josh replies Nextdoor, Edmodo, Highlight, and Tinder:

We’re just at the beginning of seeing a whole bunch of new social networks that start to join around different behaviors and different groups and classes of people. So at Facebook we mapped out all of the friends we have met in the world and we can do a lot of really important things both with Facebook and on top of the platform.

With LinkedIn we have mapped out all the people we have worked with for all kinds of professional needs. But there are still a ton of areas in which we live in the world where we haven’t really connected all the people that matter in the ways that we can then build new communications channels like news feeds or different applications like recommendations or other services.

There are a couple companies that are in our portfolio and are really part of this trend. There is Nextdoor, which is focused on connecting people who live in neighborhoods. It’s a network of all the people that you live near who you can start to communicate with about things like potholes in the street, crime and safety issues, new businesses opening nearby, recommendations for a plumber or a baby sitter. These are things that you wouldn’t be able to do with that group of people unless you were connected in some form.

Another company that we are really excited about is called Edmodo. It connects parents, teachers and children in an education classroom. Again it’s another way to communicate between groups of people which were often done before in an ad hoc sort of fashion.

Those are just two great examples but I think there are a lot of interesting companies built around location and trying to connect people who are nearby for discovery. Companies like Highlight, that helps you learn more about the people around you, and Tinder, which is a dating app. We are just starting to see what different things can happen when we start to make nearby connections.

He also likes SnapChat and WattPad:

One of them is called SnapChat. When I learned about them last summer it was this really interesting phenomenon of teenagers sharing pictures that disappeared immediately. I thought, man, there is no app that’s getting built here except for people communicating. But it’s just taken off like wildfire. It’s a new form of communication that’s actually freed people up from some of the stickiness of photos that live forever on social networks. I think it’s a company to really watch.

Another one is a company called WattPad that is based in Toronto. They have figured out a network that lets you write books chapter by chapter and the community can come and read any of those books. They have got millions and millions of users reading books through this platform, books that wouldn’t necessarily have seen the light of day through Kindle and aren’t even finished yet but you are kind of reading along with the writers as they are writing it.

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