Three months ago, he was removed from Twitter. Now, his competing app Spill is funded. • TechCrunch

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“I can’t explain it. It’s weird,” said Alphonso “Fonz” Terrell after losing his job at Twitter. Elon Musk took over, the former global head of social and editorial didn’t want to rest — he wanted to create. “Coming straight out of that, it’s like, ‘Oh, it’s time. It’s time to build, whether you get support or not.

Luckily for Terrell, his new social media app leakage It has already raised a $2.75 million seed round, the company announced today. from Reveals the plan By mid-December, Spill had reached 60,000 handle bookings.

Spill currently employs fewer than 10 people and has three strategic advisors, including former Twitter head of design Dantley Davis. #OscarsSoWhite Creator and DEI advocate April Rein and civil rights activist Trey McKesson. Serving as CTO is Devaris Brown, a former Twitter product manager who left in 2020 MeroxaA Series A startup that makes it easy for companies to build their data pipelines.

Terrell has more than a decade of director-level experience in marketing and social content, running campaigns for companies like HBO and Showtime before Twitter. If there’s any tech founder who can put his finger on the pulse of what social media users really want, it’s Terrell — especially with an all-star team of advisors and colleagues in his corner.

Like Twitter, Spill will have a live news feed where users can post “leaks.” The phrase “spill the tea”. Spill is also developing a feature called “Tea Parties,” where users can host online and IRL events and then receive bonuses for applying for things like boosting their posts — and these bonuses will also be for sale.

“We’re really leaning into meme culture, making it easy to put text on images or gifs — little touches and changes like that are really exciting,” Terrell said.

As Black social media founders, Terrell and Brown have observed the trajectory of Black cultural contributions remove Or Shaded, white creators get credit for creating dances or memes that have nothing to do with them. Although Terrell is adamant that Spill is not a crypto project and will not pay in crypto, Spill plans to credit and pay creators with blockchain technology who start trends and broader conversations. Instead, it’s just another technical tool under the hood.

On traditional social media platforms, black people have created their own communities Black Twitter. Spill hopes that Block will be a home for users because the people who create the app are part of that community. Terrell Black is consulting creators on what they’re looking for in Spill, while Brown is building an AI moderation model that incorporates black dialects into its DNA. Historically, studies have shown that tweets written in AAVE (African American Vernacular English) are 2.2 times more common. Flagged as wrong As an attack. That’s because most AI can’t understand the cultural context in which particular speech is used, especially if the humans behind the algorithm don’t either.

“We’re going to be very intentional and very specific about what’s offensive because, again, it’s our lived experience or learned experience,” Brown told TechCrunch in December. “It’s more accurate to catch things that might distract from the platform that don’t lend themselves to creating a safe space for our users and our creators.”

With its $2.75 million in pre-seed funding, the app will begin expanding its team — first, it will hire Four characters in Engineering and Social Management.

MaC Venture Capital and Gabor Center are leading the investment, with participation from Sunset Ventures. as reported According to TechCrunch, block founders are disproportionately overlooked in venture capital, raising just 1% of funding in 2022.

“We know we’re up against a lot,” Terrell said. But when Terrell pitched the spill Gabor CentreA fund that works specifically to close access gaps for diverse founders, investors decide to contribute within ten minutes of their pitch.

“We are excited that Spill aims to address key challenges created by existing social media platforms and use technology to create more diverse, equitable and inclusive online communities,” Gabor Center CEO Alison Scott said in an emailed statement.

Spill plans to launch in alpha in the first quarter of this year. Users can reserve their handles on Spills Website.


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