Zebra Raises 1.1 Million in a Pre-seed Round

A new voice-based social application that quotes Clubhouse as its most crucial influence offers a novel and amusing way to keep close friends and family in touch. Introducing Zebra, an app to share Talking Photos.

A person is holding a smart phone, taking a picture of a rain forest, while talking to a person on the phone.
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Zebra leaves videos out of the mix, encouraging users to capture photographs on the fly and send them out in conjunction with informal speech updates.

Zebra concentrates on asynchronous sharing, but it also allows users to call each other if both are already on the app. The result is a fun, casual solution for anyone who doesn't want to be caught into the unending, ad-strewn feed of Instagram every time they want to update a buddy quickly.

Zebra is now a two-person team composed of CEO Dennis Gecaj, a Berlin-based product designer, and Amer Shahnawaz, the engineering head of Zebra, who worked at Snap Maps at Snapchat before. The pre-seeded funding was directed by the new early-stage entrepreneurial company Alexis Ohanian, Seven Seven Six, which the Reddit co-founder announced in June. The app will be launched publicly in August but is now available as a beta through test version for pre-order through the App Store.

Ohanian added that Zebra's unique blend of pictures and speech is what struck him: "It's obvious that we are in the midst of the audio revolution, one which has introduced several new first-rate social platforms and vehicles for content."

Gecaj considers social networking based on voices as a far richer alternative to text-dominant systems. Products like Instagram enable voice messages and technically allow users to make voice callings by removing the camera. However, video calls are engaging and need more serious commitment – it's no accident that the pandemic is dragging Zoom cameras off the line more and more.

Unlike Clubhouse, social audio for your inner group that Gecaj considers a 'superb inspiration' is Zebra. "We saw a great possibility for an asynchronous structure with everything opening back-up".

Gecaj aspires to catch the communal imagination so that Zebra's "talking pictures" naturally make early growth. Anybody who installs Zebra can invite friends individually without their entire contact list having to share (and they need to - without their pals, you can accomplish nothing on the app). Since the Zebra interface is simplified and straightforward, it is painless and requires no additional menu delving.

The idea of a "zebra" – of course, Zebra tries to make "zebra" occur — is that people like to see what they're talking about. People would typically send photos and voice messages in different applications. But the biggest thing you can do is to send a picture on the Zebra app while talking. The program opens directly to the camera and your photograph. You then hold the picture to capture and share it with friends and family who appear beneath the camera in a row.

Zebra is not anxious to talk to folks about another app downloading. Gecaj sees a natural divide as producers and fans become increasingly the focal point of social platforms created to help friends remain in contact.

"I believe the tendency is a separation between creators and entertaining platforms and hanging out with pals," Gecaj told.

He hopes that Zebra's double concentration on voicing and photographs can appeal to users who are not as interested in video and two parts of social networking that platforms don't highlight or are deliberately abandoning.

"We think text messaging isn't truly the same emotion as a speech. So there's a wealth of voice there, a strength to speak that has nothing else," Gecaj explained.