‘Anti-Anonymity’ Video Chat Startup vive Raises $1.5m Seed Round

By David Knight |

Mobile video chat platform vive has raised $1.5 million (€1.18m) in seed funding from a group of European angels, amongst them Christophe Maire, Ludwig zu Salm and Martin Sinner – previous investors in SoundCloud, Evernote and ResearchGate. At the same time, the Hanover-based company has also announced the launch of an iPad app.

Vive describes itself as ‘the mobile chat community for creatives, explorers and travelers’, and can already boast 150,000 signups on its membership-only platform. The startup claims that more than 40 percent of those use it on a daily basis, for reasons including to practice languages, connect with people in other countries and for creative collaboration.

Once a new member is accepted (Facebook verification is required), they are given suggestions from a personalised feed of other available users based on shared interests. Calls are free for users.

There is a focus on trust, meaningful connections and an anti-anonymity ethos, and in a release, vive said its platform “is not for cruising or naked selfies” although implementing that policy might be a different matter.

It is, however, one of the first mobile video services to adopt WebRTC.

“Our goal is to create the most authentic, emotional and human experience online,” said vive co-founder and CEO Arnd Aschentrup. “For the last two decades, people have felt increasingly dislocated. Social networks keep us busy with self-promotion, but they’re not very good at connecting us emotionally. Texting and photo-sharing can’t create the feeling we have with a great face-to-face conversation, while anonymous apps leave us less connected to real-world experiences.”

Alongside Aschentrup, vive was founded in 2012 by Matthias Kleimann and Tobias Dickmeis.