Frond is a witty cross between Discord and Facebook groups • TechCrunch

If you’re tired of awkward conversations on Discord or abandoned Facebook groups that no one uses anymore, Frond has an alternative.

Launched today, Frond is a tool for building online communities. At the helm are Matt Blackshaw, founder of Sold, and Jan Senderek, who founded Loom; both companies were sold to Dropbox.

On Frond, you have individual channels for different topics, but instead of using Discord or Slack-like chat features, you create a post, like in a Facebook group. Messages can contain photos, videos, links or long texts. Then community members can comment on posts in threads to keep things organized. Conversations on chat-based platforms can become difficult to follow very quickly – some communities can thrive on chaos, but others need something more focused, without making it too intimidating to post. Frond seeks to fill this intermediate space.

Senderek told TechCrunch that Frond could serve a wide range of online communities, from DAOs to fandoms. But he is particularly interested in how a platform like Frond can bring remote teams together.

Cloud photo startup Loom started remotely, but when Senderek sold the company, he started working in person at Dropbox.

“I had this very direct contrast of first working remotely and then not working remotely, and I came away from that experience thinking…I really like distance,” Senderek told TechCrunch. .

When the pandemic hit, remote work exploded, but some people argued that the serendipity of office dating and water cooler gossip would be impossible to replicate. But as a proponent of working from home, Senderek started thinking about what kind of social platform could help remote teams maintain a sense of community and company culture.

“There are a lot of really great tools out there today, but they’re all productivity tools, and nothing is really designed for fun, unprofessional stuff,” he said. “So what’s happening is everyone is trying to turn Slack into a fun tool.”

Example: I’m responsible for creating a channel on TechCrunch Slack dedicated to discussing reality TV. But for some people, there can be a bit of a whiplash when moving from a debriefing on “Love is Blind” to a discussion of the latest trends in climate technology – and for others, the confusion between social speech and professional speech can sound a little weird.

At Frond itself, the company uses Slack for work and its own social chat platform. While there are benefits to keeping these two types of conversations on separate platforms, there’s the obvious hurdle of even getting your team to adopt another tool at work, especially if it’s not necessary.

Picture credits: Sling

The Frond team tried to solve this problem by creating a feature allowing moderators to send recurring notifications that encourage group members to post. So on Monday mornings, Frond might inspire you to share your weekend (…and if that sounds like a nightmare, don’t share! Cultivate your aura of mystery!). Frond also integrates with Slack, so it can share periodic summaries of what’s happening on Frond.

Currently, Frond is only available for the web, but Senderek says a mobile app is “very high on our priority list, if I may put it mildly.” At launch, users will at least be able to share photos from their phone by scanning a QR code, which could be useful for sharing photos of your dog or the nice lunch you made between meetings. Another big priority is to add more content moderation features – Frond has “simple admin features”, which can probably be enough for a small remote workplace, where users are incentivized to keep things civil due to the social context. But if Frond is to be used for a larger online fan community, admins will need more robust tools to keep things under control.

Alongside its launch, Frond is announcing a $3.3 million pre-seed round, led by Cherry Ventures. Other notable investors include Figma founder Dylan Field, Dropbox founder Arash Ferdowsi, and Lattice founder Jack Altman.


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