After raising $625k in seed funding this January to pave the way for a unique social network targeting gay men and their friends, Jason Goldberg, formerly of Socialmedian and Jobster, opened the doors to his new site, Fabulis, today, appropriately, on his birthday. Looking to go beyond the skin-deep hookup-obsessed competition for gay male visitors, Jason and his team are hoping to forge a central place for this affluent demographic to "celebrate life" and provide a "gay take" on the world.
After knowing Jason primarily through the Web, phone and e-mail since early 2008, I finally met the man in person today, in Palo Alto, in the middle of what was surely an incredibly full schedule. Over lunch, we talked about how this launch, unlike those of Socialmedian and Jobster before it, is a very personal one for him. While I teased Jason that I was a little disappointed that I couldn't be as active a user for his new site as I was with his last one, the passion he has for the latest venture is real, and a for good reason.
As Jason and I discussed, finding good venues and products for gay men is more than finding gay-friendly businesses, but instead, finding ones with a good "gay vibe", ones that are trendy. The data all points to the opportunity being a very good one, with gay men earning more, on average, than their straight counterparts, being more likely to hold a college degree, going on vacation and generally traveling much more, while also displaying significant consumer loyalty. A review on sites like Yelp from midwestern grandmothers is much less relevant to the Fabulis target audience than one from their own background.
Jason by no means is on a plan to take out leading social networks, like Facebook. He recognizes that network's leading role, but thinks there is a very real opportunity to get the experience right for this important market - and their friends. He promised me the site would have value not just for gay men, but their friends. Of course, I am registered, which, according to the site, makes me Fabulis. You can check out Fabulis at http://www.fabulis.com.
For more on the launch, listen to the CinchCast Jason and I recorded from this afternoon. You can hear from his mouth directly the site's focus and goals. Wishing his new network the best of success.