Frond is a witty cross between Discord and Facebook groups •

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

    launched today, fern leaf is a tool to build online communities. At the helm are Matt Blackshaw, founder of Sold, and Jan Senderek, founder of 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 in the chaos, but others need a little more focus without it becoming too intimidating to post. Frond tries to fill that gap.

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

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

    “I had a very direct contrast between working remotely first and then not working remotely, and I came out of that experience thinking… I really like remote,” Senderek told

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

    “There are tons of great tools out there these days, but they’re all productivity tools and nothing is really designed for the fun, non-work stuff,” he said. “So what’s happening is everyone is trying to make Slack a fun tool.”

    Example: I am responsible for creating a channel on Slack dedicated to reality TV discussions. But for some people, switching between a debrief on “Love is Blind” and a discussion of the latest trends in climate technology can feel like a twitch — and for others, the merging of social talk and work talk can feel a little off. foreign.

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

    Image Credits: fern leaf

    Frond’s team has tried to solve this problem by building a feature that allows moderators to send recurring notifications encouraging group members to post. So on Monday morning, Frond might ask you to tell about your weekend (…and if that sounds like a nightmare, don’t share it! Develop 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 say so.” At least at launch, users will be able to share photos from their phone by scanning a QR code, which could come in handy for sharing photos of your dog or the awesome lunch you prepared between meetings. Another high priority is adding more content moderation features – Frond has “bare bones admin features”, which could probably be enough for a small remote workplace, where users are incentivized to keep things civilized due to the social context. But if Frond is used for a larger, online fan community, admins will need more robust tools to keep things under control.

    In addition to the 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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