“You can’t truly meet effectively online in groups. Once you add more than 5–6 people, everything that makes social interaction beautiful gets lost: the spontaneity, the intimacy, the energy. The reason for that is that virtual conferencing does not work in the way that human group psychology works. In larger groups, humans almost always break into smaller groups and move between those. Settings where everyone faces everyone in a large group are the exception, yet all video conferencing apps use that paradigm. This is an old problem, but through shifts in technology and social norms it has suddenly become solvable” — Leonard Witteler, Wonder co-founder
Unlike rigid video conferencing and online event tools, Wonder is focused on natural and ad-hoc interactions that mirror real-life dynamics of group gatherings and conferences. Users navigate a 2D space with an avatar, and can join group conversations and broadcasts — coming and leaving seamlessly. Any user can create a video portal (with chat and screen-share functionality) by moving close to any other user on the platform — allowing for ad-hoc or revolving group conversations. Organisers get extra features such as privacy management and broadcast mode.
Wonder is aiming to rethink how communities and groups engage and meet online — away from highly structured and draining video calls that struggle to mimic natural interactions, to a new format that allows for serendipity and natural flows / interactions that define communities. Fun is a big part of the equation too.
The online usage of real-time video both for professional and private communities is continuing to grow exponentially. Yet the existing formats have largely remained static since the early days of Skype — whereas only marginal improvements in UI / UX and performance have already led to outsized opportunities (eg Zoom).
Now that companies, organisations and even families have embraced video gatherings as a new default way of interacting, existing formats are reaching their limits and have become too rigid, draining and unsuited both for large gatherings and natural interactions. We believe that if Wonder can fill that gap it has the potential to become the fabric across the web where communities meet to interact via video. We are excited to be backing Leonard Witteler, Stephane Roux and Pascal Steck on their mission.