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

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We’ve all had that nagging feeling that when we send a funny TikTok video to one of our friends, we only get a laughing emoji or, worse, no response at all. Seen aims to solve this problem with its new social app where friends record live video reactions to the content you send.

The video messaging app, available on iOS devices, was founded by veteran entrepreneur Faheem Qazi 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 in a group chat of up to 11 people. When recipients are sent content, they must record a video of themselves, which can only be viewed by the sender and mutual friends in the group chat. The sender must then send a video of themselves reacting to their friend’s response. The company hopes its app will create an authentic and engaging way to interact with friends.

A key feature of the app is 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.

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

“Our overarching goal is to create a platform that helps people connect with each other and that feels very real,” Kazi told TechCrunch. “(Sharing video reactions) is better than just getting a thumbs up. It sparks a broader conversation, and seeing someone’s reaction gives a sense of consequence.”

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

Kazee said, “(Gillan) has been very involved in both the actual concept and the finer details of the process, which has been amazing and very unexpected for a major Hollywood actress… Karen has been really helpful with the distribution stuff.”

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

Reacting to private video messages is the first version of Seen. The company plans to later launch a public feed for finding other users and is also looking into the possibility of popular content creators interacting with fans one-on-one to get their reactions before posting videos. Other potential use cases for the app could be stand-up comedians testing new jokes or “seeing an investor’s reaction to opening a pitch deck,” Kaji said.

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

“When you’re scrolling the feed, it has some content from users, some content from friends, and some content from advertisers,” said Kazi. He added that users will have the option to react to the ad, after which Scene will collect anonymous data on aspects such as “type of emotion, areas the person pays attention to, and degree of attention.” Reactions to ads can only be accessed by Scene, not other users or advertisers.

“These data points are very valuable, and it’s something that no one else has access to, which makes it really interesting,” he said.

Reaction messenger apps have been a trend among startups before—such as Gather, Reactr, and Samba—but they didn’t take off as well as the founders hoped. Now, ten years later, Seen’s launch comes at a time when there’s a growing demand for more authentic and meaningful connections online, especially among younger generations. The founders hope the app will fill the need for real conversations, especially at a time when many people are feeling the effects of the loneliness epidemic.

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