IRL, or In Real Life, the social calendar startup created to help users meet over shared experiences, announced a $16 million Series B funding round on Tuesday (Sept. 22).
The San Francisco-based company said the infusion of new cash will be used to reinvent its web product and expand the platform overseas.
“Colleges and universities, in particular, need a way to build and foster a sense of community, whether their students are away from campus remote learning or on campus practicing hybrid learning,” said IRL’s Founder and CEO Abraham Shafi in a statement. “This new funding will allow us to ... help students create lasting memories and friendships through shared experiences, and look toward international markets.”
The initiative is being led by Goodwater Capital, the Silicon Valley tech investor; Founders Fund, the San Francisco-based venture capital firm; Floodgate, the venture capital company of Palo Alto, California; and New York-based Raine Group LLC, the global merchant bank focused on tech companies.
In addition to the funding announcement, IRL said it has debuted its college network starting with 100 colleges and universities, including Harvard University, the University of Southern California, Columbia University and New York University. The college calendars are monitored and updated by what IRL calls “student ambassadors,” to assist students with tracking activities and organizing events. Students with a school email address get access to the virtual campus calendar.
"IRL delivers on the promise to make social media less isolating, by helping drive authentic connection between friends and family around events they care about,” said Chi-Hua Chien, managing partner at Goodwater Capital, in a statement.
“All of my weddings have all been moved to next year,” Cowie said. “Our corporate work is moved to next year. We have one or two things on the calendar for this year, but I think it's much smarter now to figure out how to do things in the future when, hopefully, we're in a much better situation.”
As Halloween approaches, trick-or-treaters and their families are rethinking door-to-door visits, but haunted houses may stay in the form of drive-thrus. “Imagine your car pulling up into a dark alley, turning off your engine and being just completely powerless as you’re surrounded by creatures,” said Atilio Jamerson, entertainment director for Urban Legends of Southern California. “We’ll incorporate props, lighting, music … it’s just a way for us to get really creative and do things we’ve never done before.”