When Antonia and Ethan were sent home from Stanford in March 2020, they – and everybody else – had to learn to live virtually. The available tools were OK’ish for learning and working, but staying connected to their communities was either painful or impossible. Traditional video conferencing platforms only made the problem worse. Social events were stilted and awkward. When looking for other tools, they didn’t find anything that solved their problem.
They started discussing the topic with others, friends, family, students, schools who were facing similar challenges. The problem, while accentuated by COVID lockdowns, was in fact larger than maintaining a social connection with friends and families. It touched every single aspect of building and maintaining relationships virtually. They teamed up with a group of serial entrepreneurs and seasoned professionals, who together have started over 10 companies and have decades of operating experience. They received the support of incredible advisors in social psychology and data science, among other fields.
Only a few months after the Founders “meeting of minds”, the first version of the Toucan platform was up-and-running behind closed doors. Speed was key. It still is today; “do” is our mantra. We invited our circles of friends and our professional contacts to dip their toes in the Toucan waters. The feedback was unanimous: “you are onto something”. We had struck a chord.
By the end of 2020, having run thousands of events in closed beta and raised our pre-seed round from Angel investors, we decided to open the gate. We went public just before Thanksgiving. Since then, thousands of hosts have invited tens of thousands of attendees all around the world for happy hours, game nights, all-hands, social events, professional events, e-learning, recruitment fairs, ... the list is long and continues to grow. With Toucan, we are making video gatherings human again by focusing on natural interactions, augmented by technology. We aim to provide the best possible solution for creating and strengthening the underlying mesh of all successful organizations and communities, virtually.
From its inception, the Toucan team has been fully distributed. Our team lives across 7 time zones. In fact some of us have never met face-to-face, except on Toucan. This works because we are self-motivated, hard-working, and fun-loving.
Toucan works well because we built it for ourselves, as well as for the millions of organizations and communities that want to give their members a more human way to stay connected.