There are as many link-in-bio tools available to creators as the number of links they typically display on their pages. But there is one more addition. Sequoia-backed startup Bento is launching its tool that allows users to elegantly display their work on both desktop and mobile.
Bento, which has been in closed beta for the past few months, is now accepting all users. Currently, the site offers well-designed pages with options to easily resize and reorganize 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. That makes it easier for people to highlight specific parts of their work beyond linking to a generic page like a LinkedIn profile.
The startup says that while link-generating features are available on other link-in-bio platforms, it has made it easier to add links and move widgets, even on mobile. Users can also use the desktop site to edit their mobile layout.
The site offers some customization for linking examples, such as showing the last three jobs from the LinkedIn profile, the last few photos from Instagram, and the latest GitHub projects.
Bento’s long-term plan is to get people to consume content on those 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 feature a video on their Bento page, they can upload a file to the site instead of a link.
The idea behind the product
Zurich-based Bento was 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 acquisition. The AR company was acquired in 2020, but the founders did not say by whom.
Benayat and Hassan started building Bento in May 2022 to support creators who want to make money online by helping them understand and grow their audience.
“Mugeeb and I believe in a coming generational change in the way we work. Away from working at big companies and more towards launching creative companies and personal brands. With Bento, we want to support this shift. We think it’s important to empower the creatives and the brave to go out and build their own businesses,” Benayat said in an interview with AapkaDost.
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 make money too.
Benayat said link-in-bio tools often simply redirect consumers to other platforms, where creators may not have tools for distribution or monetization.
“The reason is that social platforms focus on CTRs on ads, rather than helping creators maximize the value extracted per follower. There are hugely misaligned incentives. Creators don’t own their audiences, nor the pipes to engage with them Everything is smoothed out by algorithms that optimize for platform-wide engagement,” he said.
The startup has raised $1.6 million in a pre-seed round led by Sequoia Arc, along with participation from NextBlue and Gaingels Network.
Bento has a lot of competition when it comes to link-in-bio tools. Linktree is already a giant in space. Last year, the Australian-based startup became a unicorn with its $110 million Series C funding.
Other competitors include a16z-backed Beacon and CRV and Crossfeed Ventures-backed Snipfeed. Well-known Israeli company Lightricks and live streaming startup Streamlabs have also launched their link-in-bio 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 overall a pretty packed space.
The main difference would be how Bento allows users to monetize their pages. The company wants to start this process by introducing widgets for donation acceptance – launching this week – and product offerings. In the beginning, Bento takes no part of these donations.
“The thinking is, if we help Bento owners more efficiently transact and sell on Bento, we feel it’s fair to be a part of that success. It aligns the incentives of the users and us,” said Benayat.
In the coming months, in addition to monetization options for creators, Bento plans to begin rolling out features that will help them build a community.