Imagine a virtual space where you have the freedom to move about as you please, joining or leaving a particular conversation at your own discretion. Oh, and don’t forget to take a glass of wine with you on your way over. In today’s world, where plenty of people are plagued by “Zoom fatigue,” Kumospace is working to ease some of that tension with its gamified video calling platform.
“If you and I were to have this conversation in real life, we wouldn’t go and rent out an empty white room with no windows and just sit there and stare at each other for an hour. That would put a lot of stress on the conversation,” Brett Martin, Kumospace’s president and co-founder, said during an interview with Built In. “Context creates conversations. Our thought process is that all the existing video chat platforms are just empty white boxes.”
The NYC startup just pulled in $3 million in a seed funding round led by Boldstart Ventures to further its video game-like chat product. Kumospace applies real-world elements to virtual spaces to keep people engaged. For instance, it enables users to roam around a variety of virtual rooms like a poolside bar or party lounge with their arrow keys, and uses spatial audio so they can tune into the different simultaneous conversations going on in groups of coworkers or friends.
Kumospace currently counts about more than 2,000 enterprise companies including Google, Shopify and Facebook among its customers. Their employees convene on the Kumospace platform to partake in a variety of activities, from business meetings to happy hours. It also features a virtual escape room, the Milburn Mansion, that can be used for team building exercises.
The company also serves use beyond the corporate sector. Kumospace’s platform has a selection of different types of rooms including a wedding chapel that has hosted actual weddings during the pandemic. It also includes Easter egg features like a bouquet of flowers to carry around, or a stereo that plays music. During the startup’s initial development, Kumospace saw growth of 100x in monthly active usership between August of 2020 and March of 2021. Its average user spends about an hour on its platform at a time.
“I think people are fatigued because no one’s paying attention, no one’s engaged, no one’s leaning forward,” Martin said. “In the same way kids can zoom into video games for hours at a time, we want to make video chat a bit more like that where people actually lose themselves in the experience.”
With the capital from its seed round, Kumospace is looking to add tools to its platform that allow free users to customize their own virtual spaces. “At the end of the day, this looks like Roblox but for adults,” Martin said. Down the line, the startup is looking to add tools for things like SSO, analytics and e-commerce for enterprise customers.
Kumospace is currently hiring and looking to build out its team of 12 in product and engineering.