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ISSUE – Nov. 30 | Discord is about to close a funding round that would value the startup at as much as $7 billion

Earlier this week, my 10-year old daughter asked if I would let her join Discord, an app that combines group messaging with voice and video chats. Yesterday, TechCrunch reported Discord is about to close a funding round that would value the startup at as much as $7 billion. I don’t think those two events are coincidences. Discord has surged in popularity this year, doubling its monthly active users to 120 million and with 800,000 downloads a day, according to TechCrunch. Created in 2015 as a platform for Internet gamers, its growth has been fueled first by Fortnite and more recently the mega-hit Among Us, a game where groups of players band together in an outer-space version of Survivor. But much of its popularity is due to its power to connect communities at a time when so many—particularly those of young people—are isolated from each other. As founder Jason Citron noted in a July blog post, Discord leapt from the gamer world to connecting all sorts of groups, so the company consciously redesigned its interface to be less game-oriented. There are now 13.5 million servers—Discord speak for channels—active every week and it’s the social media app of choice of teens and even preteens, like my daughter (I’m still on the fence about letting her join). [ QZ ]

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