KP: Who are you and what’s your background?
KS: I’m Kyran Schmidt, cofounder at Outverse. I previously spent close to 5 years as an investor at Seedcamp, a leading European seed fund which has invested in some amazing community-driven businesses like Wise, Hopin and Sorare over the past years. I also have a long running personal interest in community, building and designing forums as far back as the early 2000s.
KP: What are you building currently?
KS: At Outverse we’re looking to reimagine the experience for internet communities. We’ve started by providing communities with a combination of forums, Notion-like custom spaces and natively-handled video. We’re building the product to be far more collaborative and customizable than alternatives in the community space, through a mix of really thoughtful design, no-code building blocks and multiplayer features.
KP: What was the inflection point that led to starting this company?
KS: My cofounders and I have spent a lot of time building and participating in online communities over the past two decades – from old-school forums through to Discord and Slack groups. Speaking to community builders over the past year, we were really struck by how disillusioned people were with current tools and the appetite for something new.
KP: How did you all meet as a team? What prompted you to come together and work on this mission?
KS: I’ve known one of my cofounders Jeylani for over a decade — we studied together at university. Meanwhile my cofounders Ollie and Jeylani worked super closely together in product and engineering at Tab, a Y-Combinator backed fintech startup in London, where they were two of the earliest employees. The three of us have long bonded over a shared passion for the more fun corners of the internet. Last year we really went down the rabbit hole and raised a preseed round on our vision for the space, and we’ve been building out the team and product since.
KP: What’s a recent milestone you’re excited about? KS: We’ve launched our beta, which we are super excited to share with the world on Product Hunt today! With Outverse you can build your own custom community, complete with forums, collaborative Notion-like custom spaces & video. We’ve also kickstarted our own community built on Outverse, which you can join by signing up on our website.
KP: Who is an ideal fit for your current version? And who else do you aim to serve in the future?
KS: Our waitlist and early access program is full of a really interesting mix of communities excited to build on Outverse. On the one hand we have forward-thinking businesses and products who want a more collaborative way to engage with their customer communities. At the same time, we have a lot of shared interest and passion communities — for example, designer, developer and maker communities. We’ve also seen big interest from solo-preneurs running large communities.
KP: What features stand out to you as super beneficial to your customers/users? What makes your product better than the alternatives?
KS: We’ve really designed our forums from the ground up to be far more structured and conducive to high quality discussions – avoiding the noise and notification fatigue that plagues other platforms. Another feature set we’re really excited about is our custom space builder, which makes building unique spaces as easy as writing a Notion doc. Because of this, the product feels super collaborative: a community platform built in the age of more multiplayer & creative tools. This has been a big draw for communities and we’re excited to see the possibilities it unlocks.
KP: In a way, you’re betting big on the “community niche”. What are some exciting trends you’re seeing?
KS: The community space is at such an interesting moment right now, both in terms of the groundswell of interest and the new tooling which is emerging. One trend we’re really excited about is this move towards ‘Build in Community’ as a natural extension of ‘Build in Public’. In addition, the trend towards platforms being built in an open way is something that really excites us – we’re planning on enabling makers and communities to build their own apps, extensions and integrations on top of Outverse.
KP: Where can people find you on the Internet?
Here’s my Twitter handle
. My DMs are open. – I love speaking to people passionate about community-building and the future of collaborative software
KP: Where can people find your newest product launch/release?
KS: We’re live on Product Hunt today 🎉