By Jonathan Davies
Ello, the new social network dubbed the 'anti-Facebook' has secured more than $5 million worth of investment.
Ello received its nickname due to its promise never to sell users' data or incorporate advertising. The social network launched in August and has become a Public Benefit Corporation, which means its owners and any future owners cannot break those promises.
It has so far received $5.5m (£3.4m) in financial investment.
Paul Budnitz, Ello's founder, is confident the social network can thrive without selling data and advertising, which is largely how Facebook had made so much money.
"Our business model is tried and true - it's used all over the place, it just hasn't been applied to social networks," he said.
"You get an iPhone and it comes with basic apps - you can call, text and so on, but everybody buys apps because they want to customise their experience.
"For a few dollars, you can customise Ello to do what you want."
Ello plans to use micro-payments for additional features, also known as the "freemium" model.
"There are 'freemium' successes like Linked In and in gaming. Ello is taking a unique spin on this," said Lee Bouyea, of Fresh Track Capital, one of the platform's new backers.
"We are long-term investors. We have a company on our portfolio we invested in for nine years before they were successful. We look long term for a company to grow something of scale and value."
Paul Budnitz isn't entirely sure about who Ello is targeting.
"If you ask me what the demographic of the Ello user is I can't tell you - I don't know," he said.
"Maybe anecdotally but not at a granular level.
"While Ello has grown incredibly fast, we still have 14 staff.
"We're adding a few more people to help handle growth - but because we're not selling ads or mining data, there's a whole load of people we don't need to hire."
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