The remote event-networking platform Twine has acquired Glimpse, a Y Combinator-backed, San Francisco-based startup that builds software focused on relationship-building. Both companies have created matchmaking and networking platforms that aim to bring the authenticity and serendipity of real-life casual networking to an online setting. The all-stock deal closed Tuesday night; no further financial details were disclosed.
What excites Twine CEO and cofounder Lawrence Coburn most about the deal is the work Glimpse has already done within the Zoom ecosystem. Glimpse had early access to development APIs for Zoom Breakout Rooms, and has already created a product that leverages the feature.
"They've really been codeveloping a better version of Zoom Breakout Rooms," explained Coburn, "more flexible, more robust, a different, more advanced feature." Because of Glimpse's early access, "what they've been able to build, nobody else in the world has been able to do, and it's that functionality we're going to launch within the next couple of weeks. It's rare that you get to be first in an ecosystem as big as Zoom's."
That new functionality, to be called Twine for Zoom, soon will be available for download in the Zoom App Marketplace, which already offers about 75 apps. At the launch, Twine for Zoom will be free to everyone for events of up to 50 people, according to Coburn.
"What they've managed to build within the Zoom ecosystem is nothing short of remarkable, with game-changing impact for remote teams and virtual events," he said.
The new app will significantly streamline the process typically employed by Twine, which has required a handoff from the Zoom platform to move participants to Twine. It also adds a significant amount of functionality to Zoom's current Breakout Rooms, using a sidebar that allows both hosts and participants to see different rooms or "tables." Participants can be matched automatically, or with the use of easily applied tags — to ensure, for instance, that buyers are always matched with suppliers. Hosts identify the tags to use, and participants can select those tags that describe them, as well as those with whom they want to be matched.
It equates to a more targeted, streamlined form of speed networking, or "water-cooler talk," as Coburn described it, which can happen before or after the meeting itself.
"Zoom has something like 300 million daily users," noted Coburn, "and a lot of them use Breakout Rooms. We're going to be able to bring to the Zoom ecosystem a better version of Breakout Rooms. There's a long tail of virtual events that happen on Zoom, and the existing breakouts can be a lot of work to use as an event planner."
Glimpse cofounders Helena Merk and Brian Li will remain as advisors to the company, and their three-employee team has joined Twine.
Event professionals who want to demo Twine for Zoom can sign up on the company's waiting list.