IRL is a new social network taking on Facebook groups
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IRL is a new social network taking on Facebook groups

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IRL’s groups and events can be accessed on its app or website. | Image: IRL

Do people want an app specifically for discovering events and messaging as a group? That’s the bet behind IRL, a young social network that has been quietly growing over the past year and just attracted an eye-popping amount of money to take on Facebook.

The two-year-old startup is betting that a post-pandemic world will fuel its mission to help people “do more together,” usually by meeting up in real life — you know, IRL. The idea has attracted the deep pockets of the Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank, which is the biggest investor in a new $170 million round of funding that values IRL at roughly $1 billion.

That’s a remarkable amount of money for an app with roughly 12 million monthly users and no revenue. Even still, IRL is finding…

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