Gil Michal Superfy

Gen-Z is avoiding Google - this Israeli startup wants to become their home for recommendations

Superfy, whose text-based query platform connects humans online, is taking on TikTok and Instagram as a primary resource for a generation seeking personal connections.

Israeli-founded Superfy is the latest social media app to garner the attention of Gen-Z, a generation craving personalized experiences and social connection through their mobile devices. Unlike previous iterations of social media like Snapchat or TikTok, Superfy connects like-minded users to one another with algorithms that can pair strangers based on their interests inputted into the app in the form of text-based questions.
“I think it does say something about this generation that if you think about it, they don’t have a place to search since they're not using Google,” explained Michal Tamir, Founder and CEO of Superfy. “It is not personal or visual. They need to actually research to get to results.”
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Gil Michal Superfy
Gil Michal Superfy
Gil Michal Superfy
(Photo: PR)
Tamir and her husband Gil Schoenberg founded Superfy in 2016 to tackle a myriad of problems they considered prevalent in the social media space: a platform where people can connect with strangers, without the lingering risk of toxicity, to answer queries, provide thoughts, or offer recommendations. According to data shared by Google itself, roughly 40% of Gen-Z opt to avoid the search engine for their questions and instead rely on platforms such as TikTok or Instagram for human-based personalized recommendations.
“They also don't have a real social network where they can connect to other people,” Tamir continued, comparing Gen-Z's primary platforms to older ones like Facebook or MySpace. “The social network they're using is TikTok, where they mostly watch stuff passively, or Instagram. But they don't have the original idea of the internet of actually meeting people from all over the world. The fact we give them both worlds is what makes it unique.”
Superfy is designed to specifically offer a space that can be used by young people to ask questions and receive answers from strangers in a matter of seconds. Its 500,000 users are connected using advanced machine learning algorithms that partner potential friends together based on their interests, such as suggestions for Netflix shows or answering a simple question related to pizza toppings or pet names. Once a query is answered, users are encouraged to remain on the app and remain connected as ‘friends’ for future chat-based correspondence.
There are already apps that offer AI-driven chat-based communication, such as Woebot, that aims to be a ‘therapist’ of sorts for users craving communication. Tamir and Schoenberg stress that the appeal of Superfy is not to address the 79% of Gen-Z who identify as lonely, but rather to take advantage of a form of communication that they have become accustomed to and offer them authentic connections to humans - something AI cannot replicate just yet.
Like all social media networks, Superfy itself is not liable for the actual content that is uploaded onto its platform. This might not be too consequential for those seeking a new show to stream or pizza topping to try, but concerns could arise if young people are seeking medical or legal advice from misinformed or ill-intentioned strangers. Tamir and Schoenberg made the decision early on to focus on high-quality users who avoid toxicity and prevent “the dark places” that anonymous chats can sometimes spiral into, even if this means that engagement and growth might be affected. “We are losing users but we do it knowingly because we want it to be clean,” she explained. Users can be quick to report abusive behavior and the moderating standards remain high to ensure people remain civil as much as possible.
Today, its half-a-million users are considered liberal and progressive with many identifying as LGBT who seek a “safe space” and “sense of community”. Users spend on average 28 minutes a day on the app, sitting comfortably among other apps like Snapchat (21 minutes per day) and Twitter (29 minutes per day). According to Tamir and Schoenberg, 85% of users who ask questions also answer others, a staggering amount of engagement compared to other query-based platforms like Reddit and Quora, whose engagement levels hover as low as 1-3%.
Superfy has raised a total of $4.5 million and received a grant from the Israel Innovation Authority. It is in the middle of raising a new round of $3 million, with half of that already secured. The money will be used to help grow its user base by “targeting quality users and not cheap ones”, as well as adding more tools like video or voice notes for those who remain friends on the app. The app also seeks to introduce monetization tools such as offering coupons for items that have been queried or allowing retail companies to pay to promote their specific site links to those who have been suggested items from personalized, human responses.
“The fact we know what Gen-Zs are looking for is really powerful,” Tamir concluded. “The more the world becomes digital and AI, the more people will need human interaction - it will be the only thing left. We are using AI to generate human connections.”