There are as many in-bio link tools available to creators as the number of links they typically display on their pages. But there is another addition to this. Sequoia-backed startup Bento is launching its tool to allow users to elegantly display their work on desktop and mobile.
Bento, which has been in closed beta for a few months, is now accepting all users. Currently, the site offers well-designed pages with options to easily resize and rearrange widgets. The good thing is that you just need to add links to different pages, and the site will generate a rich preview for you. This makes it easier for people to highlight specific parts of their work outside of linking to a generic page like a LinkedIn profile.
The startup claims that although link generation features are available on other platforms link in bio, it was easier to add links and move around in widgets even on mobile. Users can also use the desktop site to change their mobile layout.
The site offers some customization to link previews, such as displaying the last three LinkedIn profile jobs, the latest Instagram photos, and the latest GitHub projects.
Bento’s long-term plan is to allow people to consume content on these pages. For example, in the future, users visiting a page will be able to play a YouTube video without leaving the site. Currently, if creators want to display a video on their Bento page, they can upload a file to the site instead of a link.
The idea behind the product
Bento, based in Zurich, is founded by Sélim Benayat and Mugeeb Hassan. Benayat previously built RosieReality, a startup working on augmented reality technology, and Hassan was the company’s first employee. The AR company was acquired in 2020, but the founders did not specify by whom.
Benayat and Hassan started creating Bento in May 2022 to support creators who want to make a living online by helping them understand and grow their audience.
“Mugeeb and I believe in an upcoming generational change in the way we work. Away from working in big corporations and more towards launching creative businesses and personal brands. With Bento, we want to support this shift. We’re all about empowering the creative and the brave to venture out and build their own business,” Benayat said in a chat with TechCrunch.
The co-founders believe that many tools on the market simply act as routers to other platforms. They want Bento to be a “destination” for creators where they can host their work, grow their audience, and earn money too.
Benayat said linking tools in bio often redirect consumers to other platforms, where creators may not have distribution or monetization tools.
“The reason for this is that social platforms focus on ad CTRs, rather than helping creators maximize the value extracted per subscriber. There are hugely misaligned incentives. Creators don’t own their audience or the pipes to engage with them. It’s all mitigated by algorithms that optimize platform-wide engagement,” he said.
The startup raised $1.6 million in a pre-seed round led by Sequoia Arc with participation from NextBlue and Gaingels Network.
Bento has a ton of competition in the link-in-bio tools space. Linktree is already a giant in space. Last year, the Australia-based startup became a unicorn with its $110 million Series C funding.
Other competitors include Beacon and CRV backed by a16z and Snipfeed backed by Crossfeed Ventures. Israeli company Lightricks, famous for the Facetune app, and live streaming startup Streamlabs have also launched their in-bio link tools. If you think this list isn’t enough, there’s Shorby, Milkshake, Tap.bio, lnk.bio, Link in Profile, bio.fm, and Campsite. So quite a packed space overall.
The key differentiator would be how Bento allows users to earn money from their pages. The company wants to start this process by introducing widgets for accepting donations – which will launch this week – and product offers. At first, Bento will not take any part of these donations.
“The idea is this: if we help Bento owners transact and sell more efficiently on Bento, we think it’s right to be a part of that success. This aligns user incentives and us,” Benayat said.
In the coming months, in addition to enabling monetization options for creators, Bento wants to start rolling out features that will help them build a community.
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