Social Media

The social media start-up for the little guys

Source: Ripple

Kim Kardashian, President Barack Obama and Beyonce: They all have millions upon millions of followers and enjoy a social media reality that is unlike anything experienced by the average Joe.

That is until a new start-up called Ripple decided to invert the top down model to create a platform that only promotes content deemed worthy by those around you.

If it sounds like Reddit, that's because the idea is fairly similar. "Ripple is kind of like if Instagram and Reddit had a baby and hired Tinder as a babysitter for a geographical twist," founder Paul Stavropoulos told CNBC.

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That twist allows users to see exactly where and how far their content travels, as neighboring users choose whether or not to spread it along across the globe. (Tweet This)

"I wanted to build something that put the quality of content above anything else," Stavropoulos said.

But for an app that only debuted on iOS in March and for Android users in June, it could be too early to tell if Ripple's ideas can take on tradition, according to Jessica Peltz-Zatulove, principal at kbs+ Ventures.

"The inversion of content distribution in a new way is interesting," she said. "But the silver bullet is going to come down to adoption and whether users feel like they are getting an experience unlike something they could get elsewhere."

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To its credit, Ripple seems to be catching on. In the last two months the self-funded app has seen its user base grow by 75 percent, Stavropoulos said.

But convincing VCs in its upcoming seed round that the trend will continue could be a tough challenge in a crowded social media space where most apps don't have a long life span, according to Peltz-Zatulove.

"There are so many options for consumers today," she said. "It will take stealing share from Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter ... where 'likes' and 'retweets' are established social currencies."

But Stavropoulos hopes more people will be just as excited to see their content "rippled" to places once thought to be unreachable for lesser-known users. "What's more exciting than seeing someone on the other side of the world enjoyed your content?" he asked.

It might not just be a joy reserved for international celebrities anymore.