Meet Seen, a new app for friends to record reactions to TikToks and other content


Image Credits: Seen

We all know the feeling when we send a funny TikTok video, anticipating a response from a friend, only to receive a basic laughing emoji or, worse, no reaction at all. Seen aims to solve this with its new social app, where friends record a live video reaction to content you send them. 

The video messaging app, available on iOS devices, was co-founded by seasoned entrepreneur Faheem Kajee and actress Karen Gillan, best known for her role as Nebula in “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

With Seen, you can send videos in private one-on-one iMessages or group chats with up to 11 people. When recipients are sent content, they must record a video of themselves, which is only viewed by the sender and mutual friends in the group chat. The sender then has to reciprocate with a video of themselves reacting to their friend’s reaction. The company hopes its app will create an authentic and engaging way to interact with friends.

One of the app’s key features is a TikTok integration, allowing you to share videos with your friends on Seen directly from the TikTok app. The app also offers a scrollable feed of popular TikTok videos as well as the ability to upload videos from your iPhone’s camera roll. Integrations with YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels will be introduced in the future. 

Seen launched on the App Store earlier this month and already has thousands of users. The company said it has plans to roll out an Android version soon, but it didn’t share a specific launch date. 

“Our broad goal is creating a platform that helps people connect with one another that feels very real,” Kajee told TechCrunch. “[Sharing video reactions] is better than just getting a thumbs-up back. It prompts a broader conversation, and there’s a sense of results from seeing somebody’s reaction.” 

Image Credits: Seen

Kajee is the co-founder of three other startups: beverage company Moment, e-commerce platform Initial and fashion social app Found (formerly Pashash). Meanwhile, this will be Gillan’s first time founding a tech startup. 

“[Gillan] has been involved in both the actual conceptualization and the nitty-gritty process, which has been amazing and very unexpected for a big Hollywood actress…Karen is really helpful for the distribution stuff,” Kajee said. 

In addition to having a movie star as a founder to help with user growth, the app has received support from notable investors, including Twitter co-founder Ev Williams, Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin, former Crunchyroll CEO Kun Gao, founding CEO of Rotten Tomatoes Patrick Lee and others, resulting in a total of $1 million in funding. 

Reacting to private video messages is just the first iteration of Seen. The company later plans to introduce a public feed to discover other users and is also considering the possibility of popular content creators interacting with fans one-on-one to get their reactions before posting videos. Other possible use cases for the app could be stand-up comedians testing out new jokes or seeing a reaction from an “investor when they open a pitch deck,” Kajee said. 

The company also intends to introduce monetization features like premium offerings such as games and filters within the app. Advertising is another area it wants to explore, however, Seen is taking an interesting approach that aims to gather user reaction data. 

“When you’re scrolling through the feed, there would be some content from users, some content from friends and some content from advertisers,” Kajee noted, adding that users will have the option to react to an ad, which Seen would then gather “anonymized data on aspects such as the type of emotion, areas where an individual paid attention, and the degree of attentiveness.” The reactions to ads are only accessed by Seen, not other users or the advertiser. 

“Those data points are so valuable, and it’s something that nobody else has access to, which makes it really interesting,” he said.

Reaction messenger apps have been a trend among startups in the past — such as Gather, Reactr and Samba — yet didn’t appear to take off as founders may have hoped. Now, 10 years later, the launch of Seen comes at a time when there is a growing demand for more authentic and meaningful connections online, especially among the younger generation. The founders hope that this app will address the need for genuine interactions, particularly at a time when many people are feeling the effects of a loneliness epidemic.

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