CC#20: A Story of Virtual Serendipity
How The Clubhouse Chronicles indirectly lead to Adam Young, Founder of Varty.io getting the attention of Kleiner Perkins, Discord, Triller & MojiChat in just a 3-hour span
To be clear, I started The Clubhouse Chronicles for one simple reason: to connect with as many smart, driven founders as possible. After all, it was on clubhouse that I first met Adam Young, Founder of Varty.io.
Tonight something happened that I would’ve never imagined would’ve happened just 2 months after launching The Clubhouse Chronicles.
The story actually started yesterday, when I checked my DMs on instagram and noticed I had not replied to a DM from a person named Jeremy Greene. I then realized he was verified and had over 660k followers on IG. Apparently, he had read my blog about fraudsters on clubhouse and wanted to share some juicy info with me.
To make a long-story short, minutes later I was on the phone with Jeremy. We talked for 30 minutes and realized there was a lot of synergy between our accelerator at OneSixOne Group and his work at MojiChat & Cult Collective Group.
Here’s where the story takes an unexpected turn:
Our accelerator had a pitch night for the 9 founders in our Spring cohort so they could give each other feedback, get some practice and get to know each other better. We decided instead of regular old zoom, we would host it on an interesting new platform called Varty (“Virtual Party”), which just so happened to be built by one of the founders in our cohort, Adam Young. The platform allows you to move around a room as a block with your picture on it. The second you bump into somebody, it automatically starts a video call between the two of you—all the way up to 6 people. The founders were all excited about the platform and thought it was really fun. As the event hit the hour mark, only 3 founders remained.
Suddenly, I got this urge to pull out my phone and call Jeremy Greene. I had this lightbulb moment that MojiChat could power the avatars on Varty, and I suspected Jeremy would be interested in this.
What happened in the next 3 hours was out of a movie.
I called Jeremy, he picked up and promptly jumped into the Varty room. His reaction: “THIS IS DOPE! Who made this?!”A few minutes pass and he suddenly pulls out his phone, dials a number and as the phone is ringing he turns back to his webcam and says: “Do you guys know who Bing Gordon is? Google him now!” A man picks up the phone and Jeremy says “You need to check out this tech RIGHT NOW! We’ll send you a link.” Two minutes later, Bing Gordon was in the room with us. The co-founder of EA Games, former Amazon board executive, and former GP / Chief Product Officer at Kleiner Perkins (one of the world’s most successful VC firms) was suddenly in the room with us.
Bing said: “This is a very cool platform. Who built this?”
Adam slowly raised his hand and said “We did.”
Bing replied: “What made you want to build this? What’s the story?”
Adam: “I had just graduated from UC Berkeley when the pandemic hit. I was living in NY and I wanted a way to connect with new people, but all the bars suddenly closed because of COVID. So I began began working on Varty to create a virtual bar experience. I built it because it was something I really wanted, and then we started to see the other use-cases such as networking events, match-making events, virtual meet-and-greets, and many more.”
Bing: “Great work. This is a very impressive product. Keep it up!”
As we’re all sitting there with huge smiles on our faces. trying to process how we managed to get Bing Gordon on this platform, Jeremy picks up his phone once again, and dials another number.
A few minutes later, we had Bobby Sarnevesht, Executive Chairman of Triller in the room talking about how cool Varty was and how it had a lot of potential use-cases. He said “Are you going to use the avatars from MojiChat for this?” Jeremy answered:
“Absolutely! This platform has so much potential - it’s like a way better version of clubhouse. You need to use this for Beatclub whenever Timbaland & Pharrell are hosting an event!”
Finally, one more phone call from Jeremy and suddenly we have Jonathan Flesher, Head of Business Development of Discord on the call looking as enthused as a child at Disney. He asked a couple questions and then began giving advice to Adam.
”You can either be a missionary or a mercenary, and you’ve got to decide early on which one you want to be. Oracle is a mercenary. Although B2C is appealing, the real money is in enterprise SaaS.”
A “pitch night” that was supposed to be 1 hour, turned into a 4-hour event. By the end of the call, a meeting had already been arranged for the very next day with Adam, Jeremy and FloridaFunders, the most active VC firm in the state.
Adam was filled with gratitude and excited for the future of Varty: “We’re product people. We don’t know anything about marketing, sales or raising capital. All of our paying customers have been inbound, and everyone who has hosted an event on our platform has come back to host another one so far. We’ve spent a lot of our own time and resources building Varty and we’re excited about raising a seed round. This will allow us to expand our development team, build a mobile platform and begin hiring a growth team.”
Although the serendipity started on clubhouse, it happened faster on Varty.
If you’d like to test out Varty while it’s still in Beta, visit the site here on a desktop/laptop. Sign in with Gmail, take a photo and invite a friend to join your room by sharing the link with them. It works as well as a zoom call, but with a lot of added fun! If you’d like to set up your own event using the platform, email firstname.lastname@example.org