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Main article: Imzy

All topics: 3

R.I.P. Imzy

21:36 | 24 May

Imzy, the kinder, gentler online community platform will be shutting down on June 23rd.

Company co-founder Dan McComas made the announcement in a blog post today, stating his apologies and explaining to the community Imzy just couldn’t find its place in the market:

Some of you have been here since our launch into beta and some are brand new. We’ve loved getting to know all of you and seeing you build communities and make new friends. Unfortunately, we were not able to find our place in the market. We still feel that the internet deserves better and hope that we see more teams take on this challenge in the future.

McComas and his partner Jessica Moreno left their jobs at Reddit and headed to Salt Lake City, Utah to launch their idea for a more inclusive social board in the summer of 2015.

Imzy opened up the platform to the public last fall and has since grown to tens of thousands of users with over 6,000 Imzy communities. It was using the same kinds of threaded comments as found on a site like Reddit, but started out with basic rules on how people should treat each other instead of the haphazard way Reddit had allowed certain more unsavory trolls to run rampant on its site at the time.

But it turns out that wasn’t something a lot of people were into and now Imzy has to close up shop on its idealistic experiment in being nice on the internet.

On the bright side, McComas said users data would be protected and gave them a link on where they could request their data. He also mentioned the /Imzy community board would be open to allow everyone to post. “This seems like a good place for us to gather, share memories, and say our goodbyes,” he said.

Imzy had raised a total of $11 million, $8 million of which came in the fall of 2016. According to a source, the co-founders only recently came to the decision to shut down and wanted to do so with plenty of cash still in the bank so they may have something else in the works. We’ve reached out to ask and will let you know if and when we hear back about that.

This is shocking news to us here at TechCrunch as we just went to visit the Imzy team a few months ago as part of our foray into Utah’s startup scene. You can see that interview with Moreno below:

 


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A chat with Imzy co-founder Jessica Moreno on building a kinder online community

02:06 | 26 April

 Jessica Moreno and her co-founder Dan McComas couldn’t find the kind of inclusive online community they were looking for when they left Reddit in the summer of 2015 so they left the Bay Area and headed east to Salt Lake City to start Imzy, a community platform encouraging kinder interactions with like-minded individuals. Moreno and McComas spent six years prior to… Read More

 


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Imzy raises $8 million Series A round, opens communities platform to everyone

18:00 | 26 October

We all want to feel like we belong somewhere. In today’s connected world, one-fifth of adults in the U.S. are online “almost constantly,” according to Pew Research Center. But the internet can be a lonely place. Although “social” media sites like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter exist, it can be hard to have genuine interactions with people.

That’s where Imzy comes in. Imzy, which aims to be a platform for genuine conversations with like-minded people, is launching out of private beta today. It also recently closed an $8 million Series A round led by Index Ventures.

“What makes me most excited about the funding is it gives us time,” Imzy CEO Dan McComas told me. “As I think about telling our community members, ‘look we got this money,’ I’m excited to tell them we have the money to get this right for you. The money to take the time that your communities need so that we can really evolve the tools, the developer platform, the payments platform and really get this stuff right and we don’t have to force ourselves too early into advertising or growing communities in ways that are unnatural for the communities. We now have a number of years to take our time and get the community thing right. That’s the most important thing.”

There are currently over 50,000 people on Imzy across 6,000 Imzy communities, with 50-60 percent of them being active weekly, in which people discuss sexuality, relationships, games, books, politics and so much more. If the community you’re looking for doesn’t exist, you can create it yourself. The idea is that anyone and everyone has a place to go for safe, healthy conversations.

“We’ve been very proactive and very thoughtful about exactly what we want to have happen and the things that would be detrimental to having healthy communities,” Imzy Head of Community Jessica Moreno told me earlier this month. “We have a lot of experiences looking at that stuff. There are a lot of things that result in the worst behavior that you don’t need to allow to begin with. So we’ve been very deliberate about that, where most places took 10 years to decide that they needed to start addressing things.”

I’ve been bopping around on Imzy and have grown to adore a community on polyamory. I’ve been blown away by the amount of support and great advice I’ve received. What’s unique about Imzy is its flexibility around identities. You can be anyone you want on Imzy, including yourself, and even have multiple usernames, if you’d like. For example, I’m totally anonymous in the polyamory community, but I’m myself in the community about racism.

What I don’t want is people flooding to the site thinking that it’s Reddit because it’s just not Reddit.
— Dan McComas, CEO at Imzy

Another unique aspect of Imzy is its developer platform, which enables community members and leaders to build the features they need, and then share them with the rest of the larger Imzy community. Through the developer platform, people could easily build a tool for communities to schedule events and take RSVPs, hook a payment platform into it and then charge a few bucks to people who want to attend. The aim is to prevent community fragmentation while also enabling other communities on Imzy to benefit from the tools on the developer platform.

Imzy has a tips platform that lets you reward great posts, and the team is also working on ways for communities to enable peer-to-peer transactions, crowdfunding and ultimately enable them with the tools to make money. That could be in the form of selling tickets for an in-person meetup or selling community swag and merchandise.

Related Articles

Anti-Reddit platform Imzy partners with Lena Dunham to build online community for Lenny Letter VC Charlie O'Donnell on building up community on the cheap Reddit is still in turmoil

When I first wrote about Imzy in May, I called it the “anti-Reddit” — mostly because the vast majority of the co-founders (including McComas and Moreno) used to work at Reddit, where they ultimately felt frustrated by the platform’s lack of community. But McComas wants to move past that comparison.

“If it can just end,” McComas said regarding the comparison to Reddit. “I just want it to be for communities online. Reddit is about content and that’s great. I want to be about communities. What I don’t want is people flooding to the site thinking that it’s Reddit because it’s just not Reddit. There are some parallels that we can draw but the more that we get into this and the more that we see the site grow, the less and less it really is looking like Reddit. The more the developer platform starts to evolve and really — that will come in the next couple of months, but the more that starts to happen, the more the platform begins to really evolve.”

 


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