Geraldine Cohen, head of marketing at Yubo, spearheads growth marketing strategies.
People are breaking up with social media at a record rate. Between outdated concepts and offensive hate speech, consumers, especially Gen Z, seek new platforms that understand and cater to their needs.
Yubo, a social networking app for young people, is a community where young minds can express themselves. The company empowers a new generation to learn about the world and themselves. In 2021, the company hired Geraldine Cohen as head of marketing to spearhead growth strategies. The platform has attracted over 60 million users in over 140 countries in less than two years.
It became one of the first major social platforms to adopt a new age verification technique in May by having users take a selfie in real-time. The app uses live image capture technology to identify minors, to keep them separate from adults. To date, it has raised $65.7 million in venture capital with a lead investment by Eurazeo and Iris Capital.
“It’s an app where young people can come and expand their social circles and meet new friends from around the world, hanging out in live streaming directly in the app,” Cohen shares. “We were the first prominent social app to input comprehensive age verification for all its users, existing users and new users at login. We released that to 100% of our users. And now we’re working on another industry first, which will be audio moderation… As a marketing leader, being able to put a company’s values and ethos before business objectives is very humbling and inspiring.”
Cohen began her venture capital career when e-commerce took over the digital experience for consumers. Her sister served as the CEO of a beauty brand and mentioned that the industry was slow in entering the space. So Cohen decided to start a company under the notion that the internet completely shifted the power in the beauty sector; there was a gap between how she shopped for makeup products and the previous generations.
She launched Beautyst, a social marketplace for beauty, where consumers built a profile, had access to product reviews and pictures and could browse tutorials and educational blog posts. Cohen and her team gathered the biggest community of micro-influencers in the beauty space in Europe and built a marketplace with over 300 brands. Eventually, she sold the company after five years to Feelunique, acquired by Sephora, before joining ba&sh as head of global marketing.
“I was able to develop this critical eye on what brands were doing right and what they were doing wrong,” Cohen explains. “I was also pretty early in the game of digital marketing and influencer marketing. I could bring that knowledge and be fresh enough with that knowledge and that eagerness to build and transform this industry. On my own, it was much more difficult to do. So really, pivoting back into working for a brand was ok. I was in the place to make the calls. I was responsible for the marketing dollars. I showed them the real power of this new digital marketing and why they should do the transformation.”
Yubo has attracted over 60 million users in over 140 countries in less than two years.
Cohen then transitioned to the senior director of global digital at Fresh (LVMH). She led the international e-commerce business, direct-to-consumer tech stack, content strategy, performance marketing and social media. Although she grew her leadership skills in the position, Cohen realized she wanted to work back in the startup space.
The digital marketer considers herself an innovator, always looking at ways to build new businesses or products that fill market gaps. During the pandemic, Cohen had a chance to self-reflect. She realized there was less opportunity to innovate and create working at established companies already integrated into mainstream digital retail. Then the opportunity at Yubo presented itself; a chance for her to work on a team that was building something new.
“It [Yubo] was so driven by this new generation that has a bigger need for connection,” Cohen states. “For Gen Z, the first generation that is fully digital native, it has completely transformed their life. Yubo, if you really look at it, is very representative of that generation because it’s a new way for them to connect with the world; it’s a new way for them to form relationships. And essentially, it’s the new way for them to open up through social media.
Social media has had a very detrimental effect on a lot of teenagers because of the high pressure of the image that it gives… So Yubo was very refreshing for me and a humbling moment to be able to dive deep into the new generation’s needs and wants. Also, how the internet can bring them value in a way that’s deeper than commerce because it touches their daily lives and how they connect to other humans.”
As Cohen continues to transition in her career and help expand Yubo, she focuses on the following essential steps:
“If you’re an entrepreneur one day, you will probably be an entrepreneur for your whole life,” Cohen concludes. “I was never in the entrepreneur game to be the boss. But I have to have inspiring connections with teams and be in a position where I can have a big impact on the company’s work.”
Update: Insight Partners; Eurazeo and Iris Capital