We Heart It began as personal project for a San Francisco-based design student in 2007, before formally launching in 2011. Today, the platform has more than 20 million users and has secured $8 million in funding.
The site is targeted to the younger crowd, offering a place to share positive energy. Users will find a major difference from other social media sites when posting on their profile or perusing others, says CEO Ranah Edelin. The comments section, simply doesn’t exist.
“The only action I can take is to ‘heart’ the image I like, which adds it to my profile,” Edelin says. “And I can follow you—so what is missing here is the actual comments section and the voting down. That is the source of where so much [cyber] bullying occurs, and we are a more positive and supportive site for feedback.”
Edelin adds that many users look to the site for inspiration and uplifting thoughts because of the content that lives there. While We Heart It doesn’t monitor every image posted to the site, its terms of service states pornography, hateful content and other inappropriate content are violations. Also moderators quickly block content deemed inappropriate, and ban users or close accounts if necessary.
Users can also report inappropriate images and hide them from the service until a moderator can review them, Edelin says. What’s more, users are unable to message or send images directly to other users. And while Edelin does admit the social media scene is crowded, he believes We Heart It can hold its own and sustain its current growth rate.
“We are proud to be in the same genre with other social media services,” he says. “But we have distinct differences, that goes beyond the services they have. Our users behave very differently, and use this for positive expression.”
Considering the restrictions, Edelin says it is fitting We Heart It’s base are users ages 24 and under, with 80% falling in this demographic.
While other major social media players have gone public, most notably Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), Edelin says an IPO is not in the cards just yet.
“No specific plans there—our goal is simply to continue to grow,” he says.