Home / SmartTech / Twine aims to end social isolation with its video chat app for intensive conversations – TechCrunch

Twine aims to end social isolation with its video chat app for intensive conversations – TechCrunch

A new startup called Twine wants to help people feel less isolated and alone. Although the project has been underway for around six months, it starts at a time when people are having difficulty cutting off family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and others due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the resulting government closures and self-quarantines . Twine is simply referred to as the "zoom to meet new people" and is a group video chat experience that encourages people to engage in meaningful discussions that spark new friendships.

In Twine, users will be matched with four other partners who will then get to know each other. Have 1-to-1 conversations of 8 minutes each. The complete compilation takes a total of 40 minutes, including the virtual guide, which sets out the basic rules.

The participants choose from a library with over 250 “deep” questions and are then compared with partners who want to research the same topics. They then register for the digital gatherings of yarn in their time zone and check in when it's time to start.

The overall experience should help people find connections by skipping small talk and getting straight to what's important. But the focus is on friendships, not dating. After that, users are asked to set reminders to report back and meet again in future meetings.

This idea contains a hint of chatroulette because users can be tuned to people who are only there to disrupt the experience theory at least. However, the company aims to reduce the potential for this type of shock trolling by permanently banning members who are labeled as making others feel uncomfortable in any way. We also found that the app asks for your email address, phone and zip code during the onboarding process. So this is not a completely anonymous experience.

In addition, for each line, users must rate each conversation when it ends and members must be pre-approved before participating in a chat. In the future, the company wants to switch to "only real ID" in order to further reduce the trolling potential.

Nevertheless, there is still a certain risk of chatting openly with strangers about very personal issues. Twine's guidelines state that conversations should not be discussed with others, but this is not a doctor-patient relationship with the legal protection of confidentiality. It's just a group chat app with people who may or may not be there to follow the rules.

However, the Internet is currently experiencing a kind of rebirth due to COVID-19. People come online to search for connections. Social media actually becomes social. This is an ideal environment for testing something as optimistic as line, which at heart is convinced that people are largely good and use technology appropriately.

The idea for cord came from the series entrepreneurs Lawrence Coburn and Diane Rau. Coburn has been the founder and CEO of the mobile operator DoubleDutch, which Cvent acquired in 2019, for the past nine years. Rau was the co-founder of the CEO of Veterati, a digital mentoring platform for veterans who also used 1-to-1 conversations as part of his community building experience.

The founders already knew each other from the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Georgetown. And Coburn was a consultant to Veterati, and Rau had also worked at DoubeDutch.

Coburn describes his vision for cord as something between a new social network and a replacement for those who are spiritual. but not religious to help people who "want to be better people". Rau says she wanted to work on cords to end loneliness by giving people a place to explore humanity one on one.

The app was originally intended to connect people who would meet in real gatherings. But the outbreak of the corona virus postponed these plans and accelerated the start plans.

“Starting a new company in the best of times is really, really difficult. During a global pandemic? Yikes! Coburn wrote in a blog post about the start. “But when the new reality appeared, it became clear to me that the world needed a string or something more than ever. The macro forces that inspired Diana and me to start string – loneliness, polarization, isolation – are only exacerbated by social distancing. A social loneliness that has already been classified as an epidemic precoronavirus is getting worse, ”he added.

The startup is supported by $ 1.4 million in seed capital funding, which closed on March 12 and is led by a DoubleDutch investor. Hinge capital. Other DoubleDutch investors have also returned to finance Thread, including FJ Labs, Brand Foundry and Bragiel Brothers. The angels in the round include April Underwood (Slack), Jay Hoffmann (Rocketmiles), Scott Heiferman (Meetup) and Vishal Kapur (Screenhero).

In the future, Twine should be subscription-based and start real meetings as originally planned, if this is certain.

The app is currently in private beta for iOS and the web. There is currently a waiting list of around 1,000 users, mostly from New York City and San Francisco, but Cord will be available worldwide.

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