Teen-focused social consumer startup SmackHigh inks $1.65 mln

SmackHigh, a social consumer posting service for teens, has secured $1.65 million in seed funding. Flybridge Capital Partners led the round with participation from other investors that included Boston Seed Capital.


BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–SmackHigh, a social consumer start-up for teens, today announced that it has raised $1.65M in its seed round. The round was led by Flybridge Capital Partners, with major participation from an AngelList syndicate led by Wayne Chang, Head of Product Marketing, Mobile Platform at Twitter, and Boston Seed Capital. Also participating were Mike Baker of DataXu, and several prominent angel investors from the Boston area, including David Chang, formerly of PayPal. SmackHigh amplifies the teenage voice, specifically for high school students, by aggregating news-based submissions from high school students themselves via social media vehicles on Twitter and its own website, and then distributing them across thousands of high schools across the country. With hundreds of thousands of teens in communities currently operating in 26 states, SmackHigh plans to use the funding to broaden its nationwide community presence and continue to invest in its technology platform.

SmackHigh is a posting service for teens, organized by geography and based on common interests relevant to every day high school student life. The platform gives teens a way to connect and express themselves within the context of the school communities they care about, and more importantly, within the context of relevant topics and interest groups. By putting community first, SmackHigh empowers teens to define the identities of their communities and the affinity groups that exist within them, e.g. basketball players, freshmen only, etc. This adds context to the discussions and gives all high school students a way to relate and engage, be it with students within their own core affinity groups or those belonging to others. Teens post anonymously through the identity of their school community, thereby allowing full freedom of expression and fluid movement between social groups.

Facilitating the conversations are the SmackHigh reps, thousands of teens from the SmackHigh community who both provide gentle moderation, but also serve as a continued feedback loop between their respective high schools and SmackHigh. This mechanism has allowed the SmackHigh community to grow organically and authentically, yet safely using the voices of teens as the boundaries.

“The teen voice is powerful, but has often been overlooked or gone unheard because it’s been buried in communities that are either too disperse or too general,” said Giuseppe Stuto, CEO of SmackHigh. “SmackHigh gives teens an easy and fun way to build and control the evolution and tones of their own spaces in a very meaningful and relevant way, which is an essential need of our next wave of online community builders.”

This strategy has led to strong organic growth, with over 800,000 opt-in followers concentrated in tight geographic communities that span 26 states via Twitter and, more recently, Snapchat. The pace of growth has increased sharply over the last year; SmackHigh boasts more than 800% growth in monthly submissions from February to June, bringing total monthly timeline impressions to over 450 million.

“Teens are obsessed with group messaging and communicating via their mobile phones,” said Jeff Bussgang, Flybridge general partner. “SmackHigh is appealing to this obsession by providing an open, social networking platform that provides teens anonymity yet in the context of their core school community.”

SmackHigh will immediately invest in growing its platform, expanding its SmackHigh rep presence, and further marketing geography and channel expansion.

About Smack, Inc.
Smack, Inc.’s service, SmackHigh is a geographically centralized social consumer posting service for teens that leverages Twitter and Snapchat to allow teens from the same geography to connect and build community. SmackHigh was founded in 2013 as a casual place for teens to connect on Twitter; under the leadership of Giuseppe Stuto (CEO), Frank Iudiciani (CMO), and Kevin Flynn (CTO), the Company has to date amassed over 800,000 followers nationally, generating over 450 million monthly timeline impressions.