Thanks for stumbling onto this post. It's our first one, our hello world, and in it, we're excited to share what Geneva is, why we built it, and where we're going.
Geneva is an all-in-one communication app for groups, clubs, and communities — designed to give you everything you need to stay connected to the groups you love and help you make new friends through the groups you've yet to find.
After 2 years of developing Geneva — including a quiet live beta period since last August — we're excited to finally open our doors fully and say hi 👋.
Let's start from the beginning. We know that participating in social groups — from school clubs when we're young to professional networks as we get older — is vital to our happiness and well-being but there wasn't a single app that let us connect online with all our groups in all the ways we wanted.
iMessage and WhatsApp worked great for our 1:1 or few:few conversations but they'd quickly become chaotic when dozens of people were in a group chat. Many of us were falling back on GroupMe or Facebook Groups, the same apps we used in college for our clubs, classes, and Greek life, but it seemed like they hadn't changed in a decade. At work and for gaming, we'd embraced Slack and Discord respectively, but found they weren't quite right for our social groups.
When we started designing Geneva, we knew we wanted something that had the ease of use and feel of a social app. We also wanted a place that was free of bots and pseudonymous trolls. And most importantly, we wanted to solve the problem that had been giving us the most stress: no matter which core messaging platform we settled on, we inevitably had to duct-tape together a bunch of other apps like Zoom, Google Calendar, and Typeform to make it all work.
With Geneva, we've tried to bring together the best of these platforms into a single, intuitive product: an all-in-one group communication app that works just as well for a 10 person book club as it does for a community of 100,000 cat lovers.
Let's show you how it works.
How do all the pieces work together?
Account Creation - You can easily create an account on Geneva on our web, iOS, or Android apps (desktop app coming this summer). We require everyone to sign up with a phone number, not an email address, to prevent trolling and spam accounts. We also encourage you to use your real name and profile photo on Geneva — not a screenname or avatar. Real identities ensure we know who we're talking to and encourage us to be our true selves with one another. That said, we know you might want to present yourself differently in different groups you're a part of, so we'll soon launch features that let groups add fun profile fields and nicknames.
Homes - Geneva’s core architecture was inspired by Slack and how organized channels create better group conversations. On Geneva, every group is called a home and you can join or create multiple homes for all the groups in your life. Each home is divided into rooms, which are separate spaces for different conversation topics or subgroups (they’re like channels).
Rooms - Now here’s where it gets fun. On Geneva, rooms aren’t just for real-time messaging. We have different types of rooms because we know people talk with their groups in a range of ways. No more sending announcements to your people via email or herding everyone onto a different platform for a video chat. Instead, you can do all that (and more!) inside Geneva with our five unique room types (and more to come):
Chat rooms are like GroupMe groups or Slack channels. They're great for casual, spontaneous conversations like introductions, making plans, college chatter, or, of course, sharing your favorite pet photos — complete with @s, threaded replies, emoji reactions, polls, GIFs, and more.
Post rooms are like Facebook Groups or Reddit posts. They're great for structured, asynchronous sharing of content like announcements, job & internship bulletins, or articles or recipes — and you can upvote and sort posts to easily find the best stuff.
Audio rooms are like a big group phone call that you can easily pop in and out of. They're great for things like casual late night convos and for scheduled events like chapter meetings or group podcast listening sessions.
Video rooms are like your own private FaceTime or Zoom line. They're great for things like book club discussions, live study groups, or roundtables that are just more fun when you can see everyone's faces.
Broadcast rooms are like your own interactive Instagram Live or Clubhouse with video. Up to nine people can live stream to thousands and pull audience members who've raised their hands onto the stage. They're great for hosting planned virtual events or casual talks like live fitness classes or expert Q&A panels — complete with a live chat feed for your audience.
These five room types are the building blocks of your home. You can set up your home with as many rooms as you want, in any combination you want. 🏠
Gates - You can add gates in front of your Geneva home that members have to pass through before they join. Pretty soon, we'll also allow you to put these same kinds of gates on individual rooms too. Here are a few of the gates in the app today and a few more we’ll be launching soon:
- Require Approval: Allows you to create a “lobby” where members wait for approval before you admit them inside.
- Questionnaire: If you’ve ever helped run a larger group, you’ve probably sent people a Typeform or Google Survey to learn about them and see if they’re a fit for your group. To simplify that multi-step process, you can use Geneva’s built-in questionnaire to collect info and get to know newcomers before welcoming them inside.
- Entry Fee (coming soon): Allows you to charge a fee (one-time or subscription) for people to access your home, room, event or piece of content.
- Nickname (coming soon): Allows you to ask your members to create unique profile fields and display names for your home before they join.
Events on Geneva - Live events and gatherings (whether IRL or virtual) are the lifeblood of healthy groups. But if you're like us, you've probably had to stitch together a bunch of different tools to attend or host virtual events. We built a full event stack inside Geneva so you can create, share, and host gatherings all inside your home. Try it out for a virtual workshop in a broadcast room, your sorority's chapter meetings in an audio room, a casual weekly celebration of personal wins in a chat room, and everything in between.
The Geneva economy
Geneva will always be free to use and we will never show you ads or sell your data.
Instead, our plan is to create an entire economy on Geneva that more directly aligns our incentives with our users.
We believe that one of the most essential things groups and communities need to succeed is peer-to-peer transactions. We've referenced a few above but over the next few years, we'll create more and more ways for people to transact with each other on Geneva.
If and when you earn money on Geneva, we'll share in the earnings with you (we keep 5 percent). Over time, we'll introduce exciting ways for everyone to be both a producer and a consumer on Geneva in a way that benefits all users — not just the top 1 percent of super-creators.
We also have a ton of premium features in the works that'll allow our super-users to upgrade their experiences and do more with Geneva.
More on these to come. ✨
That's it (for now)
Thank you so much for taking the time to get to know us. We're just getting started and have so much more in the works. Over the next few months, we'll give you more ways to personalize and organize your home and more tools to grow and engage your group. We’ve also started working on a number of exciting web3 projects related to ownership and governance that’ll open up new possibilities for DAOs and other collectively-operated communities. Follow us on Twitter to get all the latest product updates.
When you're ready, feel free to jump right in. If you'd like some help or want to chat more with us, send us a note and Kim, our Head of Groups & Communities, will reach out. If you’re interested in chatting with us about anything press or business related, send our team a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are fully committed to protecting your privacy and your data. We will never sell your data to third parties and we will never show you advertising. Homes on Geneva are invite-only, so neither Geneva nor people outside your home can see inside. You may sync your contact list from your phone to Geneva to easily invite your contacts to a home or discover the homes your contacts are in, but syncing contacts is entirely optional. To further protect your privacy, we're working on encrypting all audio and video transmissions on Geneva. Down the line, we'll encrypt messages as well. Click here to learn more about how we protect your privacy and data.
We’re growing our team rapidly and looking for engineers, designers, product managers, community managers, and more — so if you’re excited about what we’re working on, please click here so we can meet you.
One last thing... we named ourselves Geneva after the Geneva Convention, which was a unifying moment when people set aside their differences and came together to make the world a better place. We believe technology products can bring out the best in us or the worst in us and we've poured our hearts and minds into ensuring Geneva is for the better. Geneva is a reflection of the consumer product utility and business model that we want to see in the world. We'll strive to live up to these ideals each and every day and we hope you'll use Geneva to do the same.