The COVID-19 pandemic affected the way a variety of companies have had to do business. For the occasion discovery start-up, IRL, it implied rotating into the virtual occasions space. This April, the start-up rapidly reacted to federal government lockdowns and limitations on in-person gatherings to focus on assisting people find their online counterparts and other virtual occasions, like live-streamed performances, Zoom celebrations, esports tournaments, and more. Today, those efforts are paying off as IRL reveals $16 million in Series B funding and the growth of its social calendaring app to colleges.

The new round was led by Goodwater Capital with involvement from Creators Fund, Floodgate, and Raine, and begins top of the $11 million IRL had actually previously raised, consisting of its $8 million Series A last year.

The coronavirus pandemic, remarkably, may have made IRL pertinent to a larger audience. Before, IRL was primarily useful to those who lived in locations where there were a lot of occasions to participate in, or who could pay for to take a trip. But with the refocusing on “remote life” rather of “reality,” more people could release the app to find something intriguing to do– even if it was only online.

In fitting with its new focus, IRL redesigned its app earlier this year to produce a new homescreen experience where users could find occasions they might attend from another location. This design continues to be modified, and now includes a vibrant “discover” tab in the app where you can tap into various event classifications, like video gaming, music, television, wellness, sports, podcasts, lifestyle, and more, including those sourced from partners like TikTok, Meetup, Twitch, Spotify, SoundCloud, HBO, Ticketmaster, Eventbrite, and others.

There are likewise committed areas for events you’re following and a curated Leading Picks. The IRL in-app calendar, meanwhile, lets you easily see what’s occurring today and in the months and weeks ahead.

Because its refocusing on virtual occasions, IRL has brought individuals together for online happenings like Burning Man’s Multiverse and TikTok Live’s The Weekend Experience, for example.

According to TikTok, IRL had assisted it gauge early interest in its The Weekend Experience event, with some 52,000 IRL RSVPs and 1.1 million followers on its IRL profile.

Image Credits: IRL screenshot through TechCrunch “IRL has been an incredible platform for us to engage with more of our audience and meet brand-new prospective users,” stated Jenny Zhu, Head of Integrated Marketing U.S. at TikTok. She also added that TikTok sees “major traffic coming from IRL” and is “thrilled to continue our collaboration.”

In terms of development, IRL declares its users are now tracking over 1 million hours per spent daily in “Time Together”– a metric that arranged the variety of hours users are spending together at the occasions they RSVP ‘d to, virtual or otherwise. In addition, IRL says it has seen 10x development in everyday active users and an overall of 300 million “Time Together” hours given that last June. It likewise claims 5.5 million MAUs.

While IRL does not share its download figures, app shop intelligence company Sensing unit Tower approximates the app has seen an overall of 7.7 million installs throughout iOS and Android.

With the extra capital, IRL is broadening with the launch of a college network.

Its objective is to surpass the Facebook experience for the more youthful, student demographic by helping college users find, share, and participate in social and academic occasions, both physical and virtual. Simply this month Facebook released its own college network, Facebook Campus, which enables students to independently network and track trainee events on the Facebook platform, outside of their primary Facebook profile.

IRL states it’s starting its college network with 100 colleges and universities across the North America, including Harvard, Columbia and NYU. Facebook Campus, on the other hand, introduced with 30 schools.

“IRL is the just social platform that helps users find the very best ways to invest their time and in fact encourages them to leave the platform,” said IRL founder and CEO Abraham Shafi, Creator, about the launch of the brand-new network. “Institution of higher learnings, in particular, require a way to develop and promote a sense of community, whether their students are far from school remote learning or on school practicing hybrid learning,” he discussed.

For IRL’s financier, Chi-Hua Chien, a Managing Partner at Goodwater Capital, the potential in IRL is its concentrate on real connections and community-building.

“We believe IRL will grow to turn into one of the major social media networks powering communities on the Internet and in the real world,” Chien stated. “IRL provides on the guarantee to make social networks less separating, by helping drive genuine connection between loved ones around occasions they care about,” he included.

Article curated by RJ Shara from Source. RJ Shara is a Bay Area Radio Host (Radio Jockey) who talks about the startup ecosystem – entrepreneurs, investments, policies and more on her show The Silicon Dreams. The show streams on Radio Zindagi 1170AM on Mondays from 3.30 PM to 4 PM.