Social infrastructure startup Intros raises $1.3M to automate community member introductions

As more gatherings of people begin online, the need to effectively connect members of a community increases for the billions of people who have access to the internet. Intros.ai, a social infrastructure startup founded by David Kobrosky and Robert Levy in November 2020, provides “automated intros that happen over email, text, Discord, Telegram, or Slack.” The New York-based startup raised a $1.3 million pre-seed round led by Neo, with participation from SeedClub Ventures, Behind Genius Ventures, TSVCap, Brutalist VC, and angel investors including (but not s limited to) Sriram Krishnan and Nicole Farb.

Bradley Miles, co-founder and CEO of Roll and angel investor in Intros, says: “David worked for me over 4 years ago at Roll and even then he thought differently about what it means to belong and participate in communities in online, Intros AI’s vision has game-changing implications for the Web3 and Web2 communities.”

The startup has five full-time members. Kobrosky and Levy plan to use the money to fill key leadership positions, redesign their platform, and build key integrations with various messaging services and mediums ranging from email to Discord. Intros competes with intro-focused email bots on popular communication platforms and human-facilitated manual intros.

Guy Miasnik, co-founder of AdHoc (acquired by Blackberry) and angel investor in Intros, adds, “Member engagement is at the heart of any successful community and challenges every community, whether a professional group, DAO or alumni of a school. David and Rob have lived in this space for years and their vision to facilitate connections between members could unlock immense value within any network.

Frederick Daso: What are the ways organizations are currently trying to connect their members and build community?

David Kobrosky and Robert Levy: Most communities create a Slack or Discord server, but without members creating content, memes, etc., the community quickly dies out. This means that the community manager must do all the hard work to drive engagement among members.

Two common ways we’ve seen community managers drive engagement are by doing manual introductions between members or hosting events. The problem is that none of these options evolve. Hands-on introductions take hours and everyone is exhausted from networking events.

The intrinsic designs of Slack and Discord and the difficulty of manual intros and events are why we’ve started to see communities like Morning Brew, On Deck, and Femtech Insider creating Intros Clubs. A Club Intros takes 5 minutes to set up and makes personalized 1:1 and group introductions between members based on goals, interests and availability.

Daso: How does maintaining a viable community become more complex on a large scale?

Kobrosky and Levy: In helping dozens of communities and DAOs grow from casual group chats to over 10,000 member communities, we noticed three common issues.

First, members struggle to separate signal from noise. With hundreds or even thousands of members, it becomes difficult to determine who is worth hanging out with and what content is worth reading.

Then the members lose trust in the community. We trust the person who invited us into the community, but we rarely trust people we have never met. As communities evolve, degrees of separation erode trust between members.

Finally, without the right structure and tools, the potential value of a growing community is wasted. With more members, there is more knowledge and community resources to capitalize on. To deliver this value to members, large communities must create directories, knowledge repositories, networking opportunities, and other systems. At Intros AI, we build community infrastructure and integrations so we can scale alongside our communities.

Daso: For hundreds of millions of people participating in online communities, which segment do you focus on when creating a solution for them through Intros?

Kobrosky and Levy: Intros AI works best in communities where members network, learn, or team up for projects. The most popular Intros Clubs are professional communities and DAOs, including Morning Brew’s Accelerator, Seed Club DAO, On Deck’s Founder Community, Contrary Capital’s Fellowship, and Femtech Insider.

We are often surprised by the creative way our communities use Intros AI. We’ve seen communities of professional writers connect their members for peer review and brainstorming. Professional podcasts use Intros AI to connect listeners based on their favorite episodes and location. Even DAOs use Intros AI to create workgroups based on compatible skills and areas of interest. Communities see Intros AI as their “main introduction manager”.

Daso: How does facilitating automated, yet personalized presentations work at scale in a community of tens or hundreds of thousands?

Kobrosky and Levy: The process of creating custom presentations on Intros AI is always the same, regardless of the size of the community.

Community managers sign up and customize factors for member intros. Existing communities connect their members based on various factors such as similar industry, location, years of experience, compatible skills, and hobbies. From there, managers brand the entire member experience with their logo, colors, and wording.

After setup, managers share a unique invite link with members, upload a CSV file, or integrate with a member database on platforms like Airtable.

Once members have joined the Intros Club, they can sign up for an Intro. Presentations are done by email, group text or on a community platform like Discord.

Members can personalize their own experience by changing the frequency of introduction, requesting to meet other members in the directory, or linking their Google, Twitter, and LinkedIn calendar.

Whether there are 100 members in the community or 100,000 members, setting up an Intros Club takes 5 minutes. If you’re a community manager looking to kickstart your community, drive engagement, and create meaningful experiences for members, give it a try!

Daso: As Intros aims to provide an “introduction infrastructure”, how will you enable your “Introduction Directors” to take full advantage of Intros to meet the specific needs of their respective communities?

Kobrosky and Levy: Each community has a unique culture and mission. A co-founder match based on skills compatibility is very different from a co-worker match or a mentor/mentee match. This means that the presentations and experiences we create must be fully customizable.

We enable holistic customization through our manager dashboard and offer several case studies on our site exploring how different organizations have built communities using Intros Ai.

Daso: Is Intros supposed to be independent of any communication platform?

Kobrosky and Levy: Yes. The philosophy of “meeting members where they are” drove us to create email intros, text intros, and Discord integration. Rather than forcing new habits, we present where members are already spending time. Integrations with Telegram, Slack, and other community platforms are coming soon.

Daso: What is the startup’s five-year vision, and how do you plan to develop current and future employees to produce a standard that realizes that vision?

Kobrosky and Levy: Intros AI is building a new form of online community called Intros Club that focuses on connecting, not consuming. We see a world where every online community has an Intros club where members benefit and bring value to the community.

To achieve this vision, we will need the most talented and passionate people to join us. We build the culture of Intros to be a training ground for future founders and think deeply about ways to inspire our people to achieve their goals within our business and personal lives.

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