UK-based micro-curation platform Melon raised a £1.2m preSeed round led by Peak and Inventure, with participation from Antler and Mother Ventures. From the right, the founding team of Melon: Sanne Fouquet, Feliks Ghazaryan, and Valeri Estrina.
“The internet democratized access to information but not knowledge,” says Sanne Fouquet, Melon’s founder. She wants to enable people to find content that matters to them and encourage life-long learning, so she founded Melon. Melon helps users curate their preferred content from any platform and share it with friends and followers. The platform unlocks a way for users to find the best content that fits their needs and interests while removing all the noise. Many of Melon’s users spend hours per day scrolling through and micro-learning on platforms such as TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram. Our brain needs to revisit what we learn over time to create strong memories and improve the brain’s ability to recall information. Melon is leveraging machine learning and scientific methods such as active recall to turn insights on the platform into long-term knowledge. Melon ensures its users get the most out of all that time spent scrolling social media. The Melon team believes in democratizing learning globally regardless of background or social status. And they see themself as partners for lifelong learners globally.
Content creation is on the rise
The amount of digital content has increased radically in the last few years and will continue to do so in the years to come. Who doesn’t love sharing their experiences and new things they put their hands on? The growth in creators in recent years has also added to the amount of content shared across platforms. The global content curation market is estimated to reach USD 2.4Bn by 2027 and grow with CAGR 17.5%. Here’s a better way to grasp it: in a typical “internet minute” in August 2021, 167 000 videos were watched by TikTok users, 65 000 photos were shared on Instagram, and Discord users sent 668 000 messages. That’s a lot. We’re all struggling with the overload of information; what to read, listen to, and what to watch.
The Learning Economy: learning is being reinvented
The way Gen Z learn is different from previous generations. This is unsurprising as they are the first generation to grow up fully internet-native and online, constantly connected to the rest of the world and spending a large part of their waking time plugged in. Online media and apps make up a large part of the young generation’s social lives. The learning economy, especially for Gen Z, is broader than academic tools. Anna Lee Skates at a16z says it better than anyone:
Being the ‘online’ generation has also affected behavior and values. Studies report that the average attention span for Gen Z individuals is eight seconds, 4 seconds less than for Millenials. With so much time spent online, online identity is a critical aspect for the young generation; it significantly informs offline and physical identity. We are comfortable going as far as to say that online identity is felt as a true extension of the self. This generation builds their online identity by showcasing their beliefs and knowledge on different platforms and uses it to learn from each other. “Every person will have a parallel digital identity in the future. This will not only include what you create online but also our digital taste-making. We enable our users to invite others into their micro-learning process, making it a more social and fun experience that contributes to your digital identity.“ says Sanne Fouquet.
TikTok might be seen as a mere entertainment app, but the reality is that it’s a tool for learning. Gen Z uses platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and Youtube to learn and not only for entertainment. Sanne Fouquet explains, “Access to educational, free, and entertaining content across different platforms will increase as the Creator economy grows; Gen-Z will leverage this as a natural part of their micro-learning journey throughout their lives and careers.“ An interesting proof point is that TikTok is now the first destination for search, rather than Google and the ‘google it’ mentality. The Gen Z generation lacks trust in search engines (and the big tech behind them) and instead relies on networks and creators they trust.
Today, creators drive a large part of online content discovery, and we expect it to increase in the coming years. Imagine that the hashtag #LearnOnTikTok has gathered 282Bn views! Google has understood this and is working hard to remain relevant, reinvent itself, and search. Google understands that the traditional search engine will not be the preferred tool for content discovery in the future, and the way people learn is radically changing.
Brand designers love Melon
So, where do you start with billions of content shared in any internet minute? Where do you start making sense of content, curating it effectively, and building life-long learning journeys? Tough question. Melon has chosen to own a defined and passionate niche: brand design. This creative group is often self-taught freelancers and small business owners constantly searching for upskilling. They work and create across multiple platforms, such as Youtube, Instagram, and TikTok. Through Melon, brand designers can create collections and share their best resources for knowledge on one platform. While also sharing their curated content with other brand designers who share the same interests. Melon addresses the pain point of transforming input into actual knowledge and optimizing the learning process.
“When we tapped into the graphic design community, I feel that it was a match made in heaven. All my favorite designers are curating on the app and I can actually go and see what they’ve been loving. And I can learn from them. That’s what we’re about.” – Valerie Estrina, Community Lead at Melon.
Founder Sanne Fouquet has attracted Valerie Estrina, creator of the +400 000 member astrology community Astrowonders, to grow and manage the Melon community and Feliks Ghazaryan, the founder of software agency IH, to lead tech. After meeting Sanne over a year ago, we’re thrilled to back the stellar team behind Melon in making lifelong learning a reality.