BeReal is a social media app designed to meet changing preferences around social media use by showcasing life without filters. Each day, users are prompted to post a photo within a randomized 2 minute window, encouraging them to allow their friends an unfiltered glimpse at their daily lives. If users do not post that day, they can’t view content that has been recently posted by their friends. The app is known for its simplicity, and was the first mainstream social platform to leverage a dual camera, a feature that Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat have since replicated. Unlike most social platforms, BeReal is not designed for users to grow their following and focus on building existing relationships between people by removing the opportunity to stage, filter, and edit photos. BeReal’s emphasis of authentic content is intended to differentiate it from other social media.

Founding Date

Jan 1, 2020


Paris, Ile-de-France

Total Funding

$ 90M


series b



Careers at BeReal



June 15, 2024

Reading Time

18 min


More than 5 billion people around the world were social media users as of June 2024, with the average social media user spending a total of 2.3 hours per day scrolling through social media content. Yet, as social media usage has grown, user preferences have shifted. For example, some users have preferences toward more authentic content from friends, family, and brands. Such shifts have resulted in new social media product offerings focused on fostering authenticity and greater connectedness.

A common critique of social media is that it incentivizes users to post pictures that create a manicured, polished illusion of life that can lead to a vicious cycle of intra-social competition and negative self-esteem; presenting a “toxic mirror” that warps users’ perceptions of reality. The effects are especially pronounced in younger people; a 2023 study by the CDC found that 57% of high school girls reported experiencing “sadness or hopelessness” in 2021, up from 36% ten years before. Although some of that rise may be attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, the drastic uptick in this statistic was also correlated with the rise in smartphone and social media usage over the same period.

BeReal is a social media app that was designed to meet changing preferences around social media use by showcasing life without filters. Each day, users are prompted to post a photo within a randomized two-minute window, encouraging them to allow their friends an unfiltered glimpse at their daily lives. If users do not post that day, they can’t view content that has been recently posted by their friends. In its early days app became known for its simplicity and was the first mainstream social platform to leverage a dual camera, a feature that Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat have since replicated.

Unlike many other social platforms, BeReal was not designed for users to grow their following, but instead to focus on building existing relationships between people by removing the opportunity to stage, filter, and edit photos. BeReal’s emphasis on authentic content was intended to differentiate it from other social media. The company was acquired by French app developer Voodoo for $537 million in June 2024.

Weekly Newsletter

Subscribe to the Research Rundown

Founding Story

BeReal was founded in 2020 by Alexis Barreyat (CEO) and Kévin Perreau. Before founding BeReal, Alexis Barreyat worked in media production at GoPro for two years, while Kévin Perreau was the Chief Project Officer at Opteamis.

While the exact story behind the creation of BeReal remains unknown, as the founders have declined media requests, the pair began working on the app in late 2019. They launched it on the App Store in early 2020 to create an authentic social media experience. Following one year of relative obscurity, the app slowly gained traction in 2021 across French college campuses, reaching 500K users.

Eighteen months after BeReal was founded, and after seeing some traction with college students, Andreessen Horowitz and Accel led a $30 million round in the company. Growth spiked in early 2022 as young people started discussing the app on TikTok. In January 2022, BeReal expanded into the UK and US markets via a college ambassador program. The ambassador program accelerated BeReal’s popularity and the app went viral, finishing 2022 as the iPhone App of the Year.

BeReal was acquired by Voodoo in June 2024, and it was reported that Barreyat would be stepping down as CEO to be replaced by Aymeric Roffé, who had previously been CEO of the Voodoo-owned social app Wizz.


Push Notifications

BeReal is a social media app designed for users to interact with their friends without being concerned about their followers, likes, or online brands. At a random time every day, users receive a push notification to post a photo, and they only have two minutes to do so; if they post after that, the post is labeled as late (and other users can see how late the photo was posted).

Source: BeReal

BeReal’s daily push notification prompts users to post immediately, creating a daily nudge to use the app. Though users can still post after the two-minute timer, they cannot view their friends’ photos unless they do post within that 24-hour window. This is meant to ensure that users don’t become passive consumers of content who primarily use the app merely to browse or “lurk” their feed. Further, the two-minute timer is intended to force users to “be real” and share what they are doing as a normal part of their daily lives, which differs from other social apps which are principally populated by edited photos taken at pre-planned locations.

Source: BeReal


Posts on BeReal utilize a dual camera, enabling users to simultaneously capture a selfie and a front-facing photo. Users can switch between cameras, and the purpose of a dual camera is to encourage authenticity by requiring users to share their complete surroundings. Within the two-minute countdown, users can retake their photo as often as possible.


BeReal users can interact with their friends’ posts by commenting or creating a “RealMoji.” Using a photo, a RealMoji lets users recreate six popular reaction Emojis (thumbs up, happy, shocked, heart-eyes, laughing, and a bonus expression). Users can tap the emoji they want to recreate and take a photo of their faces. Once a user is happy with that photo, it is automatically associated with that emoji and is displayed when they react to a post. Users can also install RealMoji Stickers on iMessage and react to text messages using the RealMojis they created in BeReal.

BeReal also has a feature called WidgetMojis which allows iPhone users to showcase the reactions they receive on their posts as a widget on their home screen. If enabled, when a friend reacts to a BeReal post with a RealMoji, the photo they used will appear on the user's home screen via a widget. This concept has similarities to Locket.

Source: BeReal


In December 2023, BeReal launched a feature called RealGroups which allows BeReal users to share BeReal posts privately within a custom group. RealGroups also have admins that can choose when the daily notification to share a BeReal to the group occurs. BeReal users can only be members of two RealGroups at a time as of June 2024, which the company says is intended to emphasize “quality over quantity”.

Friends of Friends Feed

In August 2023, BeReal launched a “friends of friends” feed to replace its previous discovery feed, which allowed users to scroll through posts created by users around the world. The friends of friends feed allows users to opt-in to have their posts viewable by friends of friends via a toggle on any BeReal post. Users can customize their Friends of Friends feeds with the ability to remove individuals from their feeds or block other users.


Though users cannot view previous posts made by their friends, they can view their own previous posts. Each user’s posts are archived within the app, and users can download them to post elsewhere. At the end of the year, BeReal compiles these photos into a recap video, creating a personalized experience for users to look back on their year through their BeReal posts.

Source: BeReal


When a user posts on BeReal, they can choose to share their location. This lets users view where their friends are posting from on a map, creating a similar experience to Snapchat’s maps feature. Users can toggle their location on and off, depending on whether they want to share their location information.

Source: Mashable

Bonus BeReals

In April 2023, BeReal began piloting its “bonus BeReals” feature in the UK, which was later rolled out to the rest of its user base. This feature allows users to share two additional BeReals per day in addition to the initial BeReal, as long as they post the original BeReal on time when prompted.



BeReal’s target customers have always been younger people. Most of BeReal’s marketing campaigns in the past were toward college students. In 2022, BeReal launched its college ambassador program, which paid some college students $30 per referral and $50 for an app download and review. BeReal also hosted parties across college campuses like Harvard, where admission to the party was free if college students downloaded the app and added five friends.

Because of this, BeReal’s user base skews younger. As of 2022, 98.3% of BeReal users in the US were under the age of 45, with the majority of users (55.1%) being between the ages of 26 and 44. The majority of users, 58%, were also female as of 2022. In addition, despite being a French company, BeReal’s user base is primarily American, with the United States accounting for 33.3 million app downloads as of March 2023, compared to 10.3 million for the UK (its next largest market) and 5.9 million in France.

Market Size

The social media market was valued at $219.1 billion in 2023 and was projected to grow to $413.2 billion by 2028, representing a CAGR of 13.2%. As of June 2024, BeReal is not built for brands to share content as it does not have support for measuring metrics like click-through rates. It stated in a past press release that: “we don’t have ads. You may be wondering if we’ll have ads or how we think about monetizing the app… working with brands is not our priority.” However, if BeReal does start running ads, it has the potential to tap into a global digital advertising and marketing market valued at $476.9 billion in 2022.



Source: Instagram

Instagram was founded in 2010 and is a free photo and video-sharing app with over 2 billion MAUs as of 2024. In July 2022, Instagram launched Dual, a feature on Instagram Stories and Reels that allows users to simultaneously take photos or videos using front and back cameras. The feature gives users more control than BeReal, since users can still add filters, drawings, and stickers to their photos. Further, Dual has no countdown timer, and users can move the smaller image anywhere on the screen. Because of this, Dual did not replicate the core functionality of BeReal, but instead replicated its dual camera post aesthetic.

Instagram also announced the launch of Candid Stories in December 2022, which builds upon the dual camera feature introduced in Dual, creating a similar user experience to BeReal. Like BeReal, Instagram’s Candid Stories prompts users to share a selfie once a day using a dual camera, and users can only view their friends’ Candid Stories after they post.


Source: Snapchat

Snapchat is a mobile app created in 2011 that allows users to send messages to friends as well as “self-destructing” photos and videos. The app surpassed 750 million MAUs in February 2023. Unlike BeReal, Snapchat is not just a social network, but also a messaging app that allows users to communicate directly.

In August 2022, Snapchat launched a feature that lets users send photos to their friends using a dual camera. While the feature replicates BeReal’s dual camera aesthetic, it doesn’t replicate the two-minute timer and daily notifications that make BeReal an authentic social experience. Both Snapchat and BeReal target younger demographics, and Snapchat’s primary revenue model of subscriptions is an approach BeReal is considering. Snap Inc., the company that owns Snapchat, is a public company and had a market cap of $25.4 billion as of June 2024.


TikTok is a social media app dedicated to short-form content founded in [2016]( app was launched in,%2C South Korea%3B and Tokyo.) by the Chinese technology company ByteDance. It was the most downloaded app in 2022, surpassing over 3 billion downloads globally in 2021 and reaching 4.7 billion downloads in 2024.

Source: TikTok

In September 2022, TikTok announced a BeReal clone called TikTok Now where users receive a daily prompt to capture a 10-second video or a static photo. TikTok Now utilized both the dual camera feature and countdown timer. Like BeReal, it did not allow users to view their friends’ TikTok Now posts unless they also post. TikTok Now was the most similar product to BeReal on the App Store; however, in June 2023 it was reported that TikTok Now was being discontinued after less than a year.


Source: Locket

Locket is a mobile app that lets users post photos to their friends’ iPhone home screens via a widget. The app was founded in 2022 and raised a $12.5 million seed round led by Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, in May 2022. In the first three months since its launch, it saw over 1 billion photos shared and amassed more than 20 million downloads.

Similar to BeReal, the app is designed to make people become closer to their close friend group while deviating away from the potentially inauthentic experience of other apps which feature either endless scrolling or posting to a wide audience. The app does not have filters or effects on its camera, intended to allow users to capture their true selves. Though the concept is similar to BeReal, Locket only lets users view images their friends send them, and it doesn’t have a countdown timer or daily notification.


Source: Poparazzi

Poparazzi is a social media app that allows friends to create user profiles when they take photos of them. The app, like BeReal, is an “anti-Instagram” app focused on fostering authenticity. At the time of its Series A in June 2022, 75% of its users were between the ages of 14 and 18, and 95% were between 14 and 21. The majority of its users were also based in the US. While Poparazzi’s focus on authenticity and its target demographic is similar to BeReal, its core features differ significantly, emphasizing reducing control over users' social profiles. Since launching in 2021, the company has raised a total of $15 million in funding.

Business Model

Although BeReal emerged as one of the most popular social apps in 2022, it has yet to determine a monetization strategy. According to a company statement:

"BeReal is free to use, and we don’t have ads. You may be wondering if we’ll have ads or how we think about monetizing the app. First, we want to stick around for as long as you’ll have us, but working with brands is not our priority. There are a lot of cool things we want to build, and we’re very lucky to be able to prioritize our time this way”.

In June 2024, at the time of BeReal’s acquisition by Voodoo, it was reported that Voodoo planned to launch paid advertising on BeReal in order to help the company become profitable.


BeReal was the iPhone App of the Year in 2022 and finished the year with 20 million DAUs. In Q4 2022 BeReal’s app downloads fell from the previous quarter for the first time since Q3 2021, to 31.5 million. Monthly average user growth increased by 3% in December 2022, a slowdown from the 75% month-over-month increase in April 2022. BeReal’s churn rate was 20.7% in 2022, and only 9% of users opened the app daily. The app was also reported to see only 9% of its Android users open it daily, a significantly lower rate than its peers.

Overall, BeReal’s growth has stagnated since 2022. In March 2023, its DAUs actually fell to 6 million from having hit 20 million in October 2023. It climbed back to 20 million in August 2023, but it grew just 3 million by January 2024, when BeReal had 23 million DAUs — although an estimated 13% of US teens were using the app. In February 2024, BeReal employees were told at an all-hands meeting that the company only had ten months of runway left.

In March 2024, its user base had grown to 25 million DAUs, but it was reported that this growth was seen as “unimpressive” by potential investors. Although its MAUs had “largely held steady” at 50 million from the end of 2022 until its acquisition in June 2024, downloads fell from a peak of 35 million in Q3 2022 to just 5 million in Q1 2024. Nevertheless, Voodoo emphasized at the time of the acquisition that BeReal remains one of the most popular networks in the US, Japan, and France which are key markets for the company.


BeReal was acquired by Voodoo for $537 million in June 2024. Prior to this, BeReal raised $90 million in total funding, including a $60 million Series B round led by DST Global with participation from Coatue Management in 2022. The valuation of the company at the time of its Series B round was $586 million, lower than its eventual acquisition price.

Key Opportunities

Content Expansion

BeReal limits users to posting static photos as of 2024. As it seeks to grow its DAUs, enabling users to post short videos using a dual camera could lead to further engagement. BeReal also has the opportunity to include other forms of content, including in-app messages and status updates. BeReal could incorporate in-app messages by allowing users to send BeReal’s to specific friends to communicate throughout the day, creating a similar user experience to that of Snapchat. This deviation away from static photos and expansion into alternative forms of communication could help BeReal expand into a multi-platform social app.

Brand Marketing

With every large social app emerges a marketing opportunity for brands. While BeReal is not focused on follower counts and discoverability, the platform is uniquely positioned to help brands reach a younger audience. By building metrics, APIs, and brand support tools, BeReal can draw brands to its platform, shifting how companies think about their online presence. Also, although this would be a slight shift away from BeReal’s existing focus, by providing sufficient infrastructure to track reach on public posts, BeReal could draw in a new user demographic without enabling advertisements.

Reimagining Social

While most social platforms incentivize users to build a large following, BeReal is focused on fostering close relationships between people users actually know. BeReal’s app description states that “If you want to become an influencer, you can stay on TikTok and Instagram” and the company has tweeted out “PSA: only add your close friends & family on BeReal”. Given this focus, users cannot see the number of friends a user has or the number of reactions to a user’s posts.

Further, posts are automatically set to private and disappear within 24 hours. Users can delete and retake their BeReal, but only once per day. All of these product decisions are part of BeReal’s focus on reimagining social media and reminding users that posts do not have to be perfectly edited. If BeReal sticks to this point of differentiation, it may be able to retain and expand market share in a market normally dominated by the largest incumbent networks because of their powerful network effects.

Key Risks

User Engagement

Despite its strong growth in 2022, BeReal saw its number of DAUs and MAUs fall significantly in early 2023, before experiencing modest growth in late 2023 and early 2024. As BeReal seeks to evolve, it must find a solution to extend user interaction and engagement on the app and prevent further churn. Unlike the continuous stream of content on other social platforms, BeReal users can only post once per day, which leads to less content and may contribute to lower engagement over time. Moreover, BeReal is a close-friend-only social platform, and this means that users quickly run out of friends to add to the platform, further reducing the volume of content available on the platform. Moving forward, BeReal may need to develop features to diversify its value proposition and encourage users to return to its app daily.


Though BeReal has become known for being the “anti-Instagram,” its core value proposition has been replicated by Instagram and Snapchat has also created a dual camera feature. This competition increases the barrier BeReal needs to overcome to convince users to download the app. Because of this, BeReal must innovate and leverage its network effects to convince users to download its app instead of just using BeReal’s features on other social platforms.


While BeReal has previously stated that monetization is not its priority, the company will eventually have to build a monetization model, as was emphasized by Voodoo at the time of its acquisition of BeReal. The app’s focus on being simple and increasing connectivity between people means that monetization via ads will require careful rollout to avoid damaging the core value proposition.

Business Model

Although BeReal emerged as one of the most popular social apps in 2022, it has yet to determine a monetization strategy. According to a company statement:

Weekly Newsletter

Subscribe to the Research Rundown


BeReal was created to be an authentic, connected social platform. This bore fruit in the form of initial traction and product-market fit, allowing BeReal to become one of the most popular mobile applications in 2022. However, DAUs collapsed in early 2023 and growth slowed significantly, leading to the company’s eventual acquisition at a lower price than its valuation at the time of its Series B. As BeReal attempts to evolve under its new ownership, its biggest challenges are growing user engagement, diversifying its features, and developing a sustainable revenue model while remaining true to its core value of being a user-focused social media app that brings people together through authentic content.

Disclosure: Nothing presented within this article is intended to constitute legal, business, investment or tax advice, and under no circumstances should any information provided herein be used or considered as an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy an interest in any investment fund managed by Contrary LLC (“Contrary”) nor does such information constitute an offer to provide investment advisory services. Information provided reflects Contrary’s views as of a time, whereby such views are subject to change at any point and Contrary shall not be obligated to provide notice of any change. Companies mentioned in this article may be a representative sample of portfolio companies in which Contrary has invested in which the author believes such companies fit the objective criteria stated in commentary, which do not reflect all investments made by Contrary. No assumptions should be made that investments listed above were or will be profitable. Due to various risks and uncertainties, actual events, results or the actual experience may differ materially from those reflected or contemplated in these statements. Nothing contained in this article may be relied upon as a guarantee or assurance as to the future success of any particular company. Past performance is not indicative of future results. A list of investments made by Contrary (excluding investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for Contrary to disclose publicly, Fund of Fund investments and investments in which total invested capital is no more than $50,000) is available at

Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by Contrary. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, Contrary has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Please see for additional important information.


Rayan Malik


See articles

Sachin Maini


See articles

© 2024 Contrary Research · All rights reserved

Privacy Policy