Socialize Raises $250,000 in Pre-Seed Funding to Democratize Social Media, Fueling New Generation of User-Generated Content Enthusiasts at Every Level
Entertainment-Industry Veteran Helen Polise, AKA the “TikTok Teacher,” Stewards Older Adults, One of the World’s Largest Underserved Populations
Socialize, a resource designed to connect, educate, and inspire older adults of all skill levels to create and share authentic, original content on social media, announced it has closed a round of $250,000 in pre-seed funding. Socialize was co-created by Alive Ventures, a Los Angeles-based venture studio working to create bold new companies designed for older adults, and social media entrepreneur and “TikTok Teacher” Helen Polise.
In response to a clear need in the market to provoke more positive representation of older adults, Alive Ventures began exploring ways to increase the visibility of older adults on social media. Helen, a commercial director who pivoted during the pandemic to directing herself on TikTok, stood out to the studio as a role model and ideal cofounder. Polise began working with Alive Ventures in their Entrepreneur-in-Residence program to design and develop Socialize. She learned that people were drawn to a style of teaching that was clear, inclusive, kind, welcoming and encouraging. “It was apparent that people were resonating with an older person that wasn’t portrayed as though my life was over,” said Polise.
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Through their work together, Polise and Alive learned there were a lot of others like Helen, who simply needed the confidence and inspiration to step forward and share their stories on social media. Socialize was created to help uplift the many voices of those living extraordinary ordinary lives beyond age 65, and to increase the presence of confident, joyful older figures in the spaces where they spend the most time. In short, to make visibility better.
Socialize’s content is divided into different expertise categories, ranging from beginner to expert. Users can sign up and create a free Creator Profile, which will provide access to the company’s online community of video tutorials and articles, as well as Socialize’s Creators, a curated group of inspirational social figures. “Whether you want to feel more confident around social media, create original content, or are looking to improve your skills, the world of social media is wide open for all, and Socialize believes the love of learning transcends age,” said Polise.
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With more than 569,000 followers on her TikTok account, Polise is owner and director of Muthership Productions, which she founded in 2012 to create video content for TV commercials and digital advertising for well-known brands such as Blistex, Sensodyne, NFL Alumni, and Odor-Eaters. When the pandemic abruptly shut down production, she familiarized herself with TikTok, subsequently creating dance videos, baking demos, and viral “how-to” videos explaining the ins and outs of the latest TikTok crazes.
“We believe in investing in founders who have a unique vision for serving communities of older adults, especially when they are part of those communities themselves,” said John Zapolski, CEO and founder, Alive Ventures. “We share a commitment with Socialize to invite broader ways of thinking around multi-generationalism, especially when it comes to democratizing social media for what has become such a zeitgeist for our era.”