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$1.2B Social App Closes Shop: 95% of Users Were Fake

2 mins
Updated by Geraint Price
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In Brief

  • IRL social app shuts down as 95% of users found to be bots, leading to a loss of trust in its $1.2 billion valuation.
  • Former CEO Abraham Shafi resigned after doubts arose about the app's claim of having over 20 million users.
  • SoftBank-backed IRL faced closure despite raising $197 million, highlighting the risks of inflated user metrics.
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The social app IRL has closed down after the board of directors discovered that 95% of users were bots. IRL had achieved a $1.2 billion valuation after raising over $197 million from venture capitalists like SoftBank.

Venture capitalists analyze metrics such as the daily active users (DAU) of particular apps to make investment decisions. But unscrupulous players often fake their metrics through bots.

Social App IRL Sunsets Its Operations

Social app IRL claimed over 20 million users. But according to The Information, the board of directors discovered that 95% of the users were bots. The app aimed to become an event-organizing solution for Gen Z.

The turmoil started after IRL laid off 25% of its team last year. But a year before that, IRL increased its workforce at least threefold. 

During the layoffs, it was reported that the company had enough cash to last well into 2024. But now, there is no information about the runway of the social app IRL.

In parallel, the employees started doubting former CEO Abraham Shafi’s claims of 20 million users. Eventually, Shafi resigned from his CEO position in April 2023. Now the company shuts down its operations due to the malpractice of inflating user metrics.

Companies often face allegations of faking their user count and other related metrics. BeInCrypto reported in March 2023 that the short seller Hindenburg Research accused Jack Dorsey’s Block of inflating user metrics.

It is worth mentioning that IRL raised over $170 million from SoftBank through a Series C funding round in 2021.

SoftBank is a renowned investing firm that has also backed crypto startups such as non-fungible token (NFT) firm Sorare, analytics firm Elliptic and the now-bankrupt crypto exchange FTX.

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Harsh Notariya
Harsh Notariya excels in delivering SEO-optimized crypto news under tight deadlines. Previously, as a Growth Marketer at Sporty and a Community Consultant at Totality Corp, he significantly boosted community engagement and followers. Harsh also crafted engaging content for top crypto influencer Shivam Chhuneja, blending meme references for an educational yet fun experience. His versatile skills make him a notable figure in crypto journalism.