Why We Invested in Topia: A More Human Online World
July 4, 2021
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve seen an explosion in companies created to help people connect virtually. Some targeted at the workplace, some for events, and some for social. So when Topia came across my desk, I’ll have to admit I was a bit reluctant to even take a meeting. This market appears to be covered from every angle.
But my interest was instantly piqued 10 minutes into my first meeting with Daniel Liebeskind, the company’s co-founder and CEO. Unlike many founders who lack focus, Daniel has a crisp vision for what he’s building. Topia is not meant specifically for the workplace, events, or social - but it effortlessly accommodates all three.
What makes the platform special is that it recreates the human element that’s been lost in existing virtual solutions. Topia’s spatial audio and video make it easy to walk up to and away from someone as you would in real life - enabling many people to gather in a single world while simultaneously having independent fortuitous interactions.
Furthermore, the use of perpetually existing worlds means that the community continues to live and breathe after you sign out of the platform for the day. Whenever you want to rejoin your tribe, it’s there.
Within a week of learning about the platform, our team started having meetings on Topia and even hosted a happy hour event for our founders. Personally, I began using the world I created to have viewing parties and social hours with friends around the world. With every interaction, I was reminded of how Topia represents a sense of place that didn’t exist before COVID. I’m able to create a “home” where I can connect with friends, family, and colleagues regardless of our physical locations. The warmth of the platform fosters a sense of authenticity that allows people to show up and be themselves. This made a world of difference during such an isolating time and continues to exist as a place of connection through the world’s reopening.
The invitation of others to the platform created a ripple effect. Everyone I invited was delighted by the worlds we created and wanted to leverage the platform to pull in their own communities. In fact, one of the coolest use cases I came across in my introduction to Topia was from Brian Swichkow who used it to host his wedding:
The creativity around the myriad of ways the platform can be used is supported by the opportunity it presents to creators. As we continue to ride the tailwinds of the creator economy, Topia unleashes a multitude of ways in which this user base can harness its skills and receive compensation in return. Community builders benefit from the platform by providing a unique, evergreen place for their people to gather. And in return they’re paid commissions for the users they bring to the platform who engage with others. Similarly, artists can create and sell assets in the Topia marketplace (à la Roblox or Fortnite) that allow for others to customize their experiences without being design experts.
Though the company is early, we are so excited about Daniel’s vision and the real opportunity for Topia to be the more human and natural evolution of virtual interactivity. Our enthusiasm is only reinforced by the joining of Alexis Ohanian, the original pioneer of the Reddit community, to the round.
We’re honored and humbled to be on this journey with the Topia team and look forward to what’s to come.