Product Hunt Daily Digest
June 23rd, 2021

🦄 A unicorn IRL
Plan an IRL surprise

The world has started healing. By the world, we mean your social life.

Arts & entertainment has been one the hardest hit sectors during the pandemic. Startups, as well as creators, had no choice but to rethink their approach.

IRL, the social calendar app that launched on Product Hunt two years ago, even thrived. In a pivot of (we assume) desperation, IRL became “In Remote Life,” launched a redesigned app, went heavy on social integration, and re-focused on virtual events.

It worked. IRL just raised a $170M Series C, pushing it to unicorn status, now with a vision to become the WeChat of the West. The company is taking advantage of Gen Z's absence on Facebook.

“They essentially use Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok. But there is no groups and events product for that generation,” CEO Abraham Shafi told TechCrunch.

Behaviors are shifting yet again with venues re-opening in many places. IRL is finding a comfortable seat at the intersection of online and offline. The mash-up of events and outing products that we’ve seen leave us predicting your social life will look just as hybrid as your work life. New products are hoping to take advantage of non-homebody fun-seekers like HULA, Hoppout!, and DUNK.

DUNK launched earlier this week — an app that enables you to surprise your friends with secret plans to a secret destination. Early adopters are happy to bite into in-person fun.

“Definitely using this on my next trip with the boys, this looks like a great way to motivate the troops ! ✈️” - James Hyot

"Love the idea 💡After a year or so of not being able to travel, the surprise element of DUNK makes it even more exciting for company events or friends get-together 🤩" - Nicolas

On the other hand, between Gen Z's interest in the metaverse and dispersed teams, virtual spaces are still hot and will keep growing, even if that Memoji audience at WWDC was a little bit creepy. We love to see products like Zen Republic HQ, a blockchain-based VR game park, and Pluto Auditorium, a virtual auditorium, reshape the way we think about connecting.

ML MADE EASY

An innovative group of high school students launched Kobra today, a visual programming language (like Scratch) for machine learning. The makers are part of Replit Venture’s inaugural cohort. They noticed that machine learning was hard to pick up without pre-requisite knowledge of Python and other libraries often used in ML frameworks.

“Our team realized that machine learning concepts don't have a fundamental link with text-based languages, so we created a system that doesn't pretend they do.” - Benjamin Smith, maker

The block-based code editor reduces the barrier to entry, enabling hobbyists and researchers to quickly start building their own machine learning applications.

Check out Kobra
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