Astrology doesn’t have to be based on reality for it to attract real money.
In recent months, astrology startups offering apps and subscription services have raised impressive funding from venture capitalists and other big-money investors, as per The New York Times, with some apps raising millions in recent funding rounds — a strange collision, considering the contrasting words of analytical finance and superstitious horoscopes.
Co-Star, a black-and-white, AI-powered astrology app that delivers “hyper-personalised, real-time horoscopes”, is one of these – boasting almost 500,000 followers on Instagram and an admirable push notification app to boot.
What makes Co-star different is that it examines the exact minute and location of your birth to give you a closer, more intimate reading. There’s also a social aspect: you can read how compatible you are with friends and loved ones who also have the app.
It also draws attention to the underlying science — of the app, not astrology — like using NASA data to track stars and planets.
“It probably has this aura of being unscientific or whatever,” investor Anarghya Vadhana told The Times, adding that Co-Star founder Banu Guler “did a really good job of understanding all of that and rooting it in as much science as possible.”
Co-Star’s website promotes the fact that astrology allows “irrationality to invade our techno-rationalist ways of living”.
The app has been downloaded more than three million times and currently boasts cult status.
Banu Guler, the chief executive and co-founder of Co-Star told the Independent that not every investor she pitched was enthusiastic about her company and that some dismissed its practice area as pseudoscience.
“I get that you’re not into astrology,” she says, “but if you had access to a twenty-something or teenager who is a girl, that’s who you need to talk to.”
This week, the company behind the app announced that they has raised a $5.2 million seed round which will be used to fund an Android companion to its iOS-only app, grow its team and “build features that encourage new ways to get closer, new ways to take care of ourselves, and new ways to grow.”
“By positioning human experience against a backdrop of a vast universe, Co-Star creates a shortcut to real talk in a sea of small talk: a way to talk about who we are and how we relate to each other,” the company wrote in its funding announcement.
“It doesn’t reduce complexity. It doesn’t judge. It understands.”
Main image by @papermagazine