While 2020 has been marked by social distancing and isolation, it’s been a booming year in the digital sphere. People have been allotted more time not only for online entertainment but also for work ideas and business execution right from the comfort of their own homes. And this new lifestyle doesn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon, which is probably why working professionals should get to know ZapLife.
Now you may have seen and even participated in live streaming on apps like Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. You may have also put your Facetime and Zoom to use a lot more in recent months. But have you noticed that there are no live streams on your discover pages? Or why hosts of live streams have to constantly post and tag different third party payment apps to receive love donations or tips?
Enter Black women to the rescue! ZapLife is a new Black-owned live streaming app founded by Cassie Hinnen, chief people officer, and, Samantha Irizarry, chief executive officer, that makes it easier to get connected and stay entertained. ZapLife, which is set for a global launch on Oct. 31, offers amazing new features to the live streaming era that includes its own cryptocurrency system where you can cash out into real dollars at any time, a discover page to catch a sneak peek of streams and topics before entering the room, RSVP stream scheduling options and notifications, VIP rooms to connect with specific friends and so much more. With 90% of the team made up of Black and brown people, it’s imperative to take a look at what this app is really doing for the future of the Black community, introducing a new stream of revenue for anyone with a cool idea in the digital space brought to you for us and by us.
“We at ZapLife are pulling up a seat to the table of an industry that has created tremendous wealth within the last decade that has been concentrated among that demographic of White and Asian males,” CEO Irizarry explains. “The tech industry has failed to move the needle on diversity in the workforce. We have taken massive actions to bring these ideas into fruition and will officially launch on Halloween weekend.”
The creators of ZapLife opened up about the new app.
How would you describe ZapLife?
Samantha Irizarry: It’s the ultimate live streaming experience where the world can have more fun and create an additional revenue stream. You’re amplifying the live stream experience and amplifying the real-world experience.
Tell me about its inception. When did you guys get the idea and when did the process begin to actualize?
Samantha: Initially we started tinkering around in the garage around January 2020. We were looking at how it would look for a live stream to be enhanced. What would it look like for users to generate revenue? And then all of a sudden the world shuts down because of COVID. In March of 2020, you saw DJ D Nice really elevate the world, and he created a paradigm shift creating nightlife 2.0. It was at that very moment that we knew that this want was now a need. A need for the world to smile again in a far more interactive way than Instagram. The corporate economy is crumbling. People are out of work and they need a way to generate additional streams of revenue beyond what their previous opportunities allow them to do. So as thought leaders, we looked at each other and we realized that we have to take this idea and it’s a must-have.
Ever since then we’ve been working around the clock, 25/8, building ZapLife and redefining it. We are launching Oct. 31 but starting Sept. 25, every weekend we curated experiences like fashion shows and DJs performing. Out of our 10,000 partners, we have 1,000 featured partners and we are given our 1,000 future partners the opportunity to share their talent with the world before our grand launch on Oct. 31.
How did you broker partnerships between this new live streaming service, which we’ve never seen before?
Cassie Hinnen: It was incentivizing them to be a part of something where they can, one, monetize it for something that they’re already doing for free anyway. But, beyond that, I’ve had so many partners say to us, even if I wasn’t getting paid for this, we need a better platform and I want to be a part of something brand new. This is an opportunity that will allow me to be a part of something on the ground level.
I think also with our team being 90% Black and brown, it’s also incredibly encouraging and inviting in that sense to people who are looking for something to support in that area.
Where can we find ZapLife? Is it only a phone application? Is there computer access?
Cassie: As of right now, we have a website and it’s definitely on social. Soon, the app will be in the Apple app store and the Google Play store.
On the website, there is the option to join the partner program so that’s how we’ve accumulated the number that we have for our partner program. Currently, our partners have exclusive access to creating channels and events.
Why do you think live stream struggles to reach larger audiences? And what’s your plan?
Mark Schwartz, Chief Blockchain Officer: If I am a live streamer today and I go to Instagram, I’m limited to who can discover me by the universe of my followers. The only people who are going to find my live stream are my followers. If I post a picture or a video on Instagram, I can hashtag it and everyone can find me. I cannot hashtag a live stream anywhere on the planet, except for ZapLife.
Conversely, if I’m an audience member and I want to find a church, a teacher, a DJ, a fitness instructor, I cannot go to any live stream experience on the planet today and type in a hashtag and discover anyone who’s live streaming in the subject matters that I’m interested in. I can do that for a picture or a video on Instagram, Twitter. I cannot do that on YouTube. So that’s yet another example of how ZapLife is taking the world, the planet from livestream 1.0 to 2.0. And 1.0 is was pretty good but 2.0, has all of these enhanced experiences, discovery, and search.
You can also RSVP so you can book something in advance, either as a creator, a DJ, a teacher, a pastor, and a fitness instructor. Or, if I want to get that on my calendar, as someone whose going to come and watch, I can now understand that it’s coming in advance. I can book it on my calendar. I can RSVP, and I can receive alerts. This doesn’t happen in live stream today.
Live streaming available on other platforms has been a one-size-fits-all model. How is ZapLife actively redefining the live stream space?
Cassie: So currently on the places where you can live stream, it’s kind of a plug-and-play. What we mean by one-size-fits-all is that the experience isn’t necessarily built for DJs, but DJs have made it work. And they’ve done a great job so far and what we’re doing and what we’ve done is create different layouts for different kinds of experiences. We started with the Vibe layout for virtual parties but it’s really beyond parties. It’s also a virtual space for any kind of live event. So we have the layout for a DJ and a host and then a dance floor that can also convert to a stage. That’s where Samantha was talking about enhancing the experience. It’s not just one screen, one person, and then maybe a split screen where you can invite one person to talk. Even our Broadcast layout will allow up to seven people to split a screen. So you have the opportunities for panel discussions or other things. Whatever the mind can imagine. We’re really excited to open it up so that people can really live life in a safe way virtually but still have that interaction and communication and connection in a way that has never been experienced before.
Can you explain the VIP treatment?
Samantha: The VIP experience allows the partygoers an option to have an exclusive experience. So you can either have a VIP that’s going to be public or private and party-goers, can request to join the VIP room, or be invited into someone else’s VIP room. And what’s really cool about the VIP room is that you’re still able to hear the DJs music and hear the host while you’re in the VIP room. You’re also able to communicate and play games with each other while listening to the DJ and the host in the background. This allows the partygoers to have an exclusive experience. So if they’re having a birthday celebration or they just want to hang out with their friends, the VIP is an exclusive experience where they can do that privately or publicly. The price for the VIP room is $10.
One of the main components of this app is the virtual currency. Can you explain what this is and what the gifting system is?
Samantha: The virtual currency would be an in-app purchase. You can use your coins to purchase gifts or tip the DJ. We saw DJ D-Nice and plenty of other DJs on Instagram live streaming raising money, but they had to link a third-party app like CashApp. So what we figured we’d allow and normalize is gifting and tipping to be embedded in the app. Users no longer have to go through a third-party app or the trouble of linking a third-party app. Now users can make money just from receiving virtual gifts. So you can wake up, you can receive virtual gifts, you can make money while you’re asleep. And any gift that you can send in the real nightlife, you can also send on ZapLife. So we have anything from 50 cents to $50. Fifty cents may get you a shot or for $50, you can make it rain on someone. The best part is that all gifts are able to be instantly cashed out. The gifts are tailored to the experience and this allows it to be far more interesting and incentive to purchase and give gifts.
Cassie: And just to add on that, within the app itself, the coins are an in-app purchase completely separate from the cryptocurrency. ZapLife cryptocurrency tokens are on a different platform. They’re held on Zaptheory.com so completely different and separate. On the app, the idea of virtual gifts is more of a concept of micro tipping. A lot of times people aren’t going to send a DJ or an artist, just $1, right? It’s not normal to send $1. One dollar might be insulting, or it might not excite someone. But now you have the opportunity to reach more people, let’s say 10,000 people on your live stream versus maybe 10 to 20. Even with a million followers, a lot of times it doesn’t convert to viewers on a live stream. On ZapLife you are able to be discovered and searched. So if you have 10,000 people watching and they all send a virtual gift that’s worth a dollar, now you’ve made $10,000 for the night. Or with even half of that, you’re in a much better situation than in the current landscape. Before I’ve seen people do all right for themselves but it’s not sustainable, or it’s not life-changing to receive. It’s much more challenging to raise money or earn money through live streaming currently. And so the idea is micro tipping and normalizing micro tipping and making it fun because now it’s a gift.
Samantha: We are changing the live stream industry. We have something that is unprecedented. We have lightning in a bottle.