Wonder, the startup revolutionising virtual space, today announces an approx. €9 million seed round led by EQT Ventures, with participation from existing investor BlueYard Capital.
Founded in 2020, Wonder is a video communication tool with over 200,000 monthly users, enabling larger online group gatherings that mirror in-person meetings, such as the ability to chat to people in different groups and chance encounters. The new funding will be used to refine Wonder’s product development, expand its team, and grow its customer base.
While video calling works for groups of less than 10 people, it’s difficult to interact in bigger groups. Aiming to make large online gatherings fun, interactive, and sociable, Wonder already has 30% week-over-week organic growth in active users. Having spent no money on marketing, this growth is purely by word of mouth within its community. Customers range from individuals and corporate usage – such as NASA, Deloitte, and SAP – to universities and research groups, including Harvard.
Unlike other video conferencing and online event tools, Wonder is focused on natural interactions that are intuitive, mirroring the authentic dynamics of group gatherings. Users navigate a 2D space with a bubble that shows their photo and can join group conversations and broadcasts. Guests can see who is speaking to whom, moving their avatars around with their mouse. To join a conversation, they move closer, and to leave it, they move away. This allows greater agency, as individuals can enter and leave smaller conversations as they wish, creating more natural and enjoyable group conferences.
Founded in April this year by Stephane Roux (co-founder), Leonard Witteler (co-founder), and Pascal Steck (co-founder), the first iteration of Wonder was Leonard’s first coding project that he built in his spare time a few years ago. He tested the product with family and friends, who gave positive feedback. Fast forward to April this year and the opportunity was magnified; COVID-induced lockdowns have helped establish Wonder’s user base. Before the pandemic, online video communication was already a $14bn market (€11.5 million approx.). Beyond the pandemic, the use case for this virtual experience long-term is even greater: in the US, 55% of workers want a mixture of home and office working; in the UK, employers expect regular home workers to double from 18% pre-pandemic to 37% post-pandemic.
Stephane Roux, co-founder of Wonder, commented: “In the real world, people chat group-to-group and that’s where you build relationships. A surprise encounter, bumping into someone you didn’t expect to see – those are the things that people remember. The interaction principle of virtual communication doesn’t allow for that, which is what we’re seeking to change with Wonder. By giving people agency over their own experience — they can join or leave a conversation group whenever they please – the whole experience is driven by the participation of each attendee. We’re thrilled to have Jenny and EQT Ventures join us for the next stage of our journey, as we look to continue our growth and revolutionise how communities interact with each other.”
Jenny Dreier, investor at EQT Ventures Berlin, added: “Throughout COVID-19, real-time video has become the default for both private and professional interactions, and hybrid working is here to stay. No other video tools come anywhere near as close to replicating real-life interactions as Wonder, so the product has explosive potential, already foreshadowed with the platform’s stellar organic growth. It’s incredibly exciting to be working with the team and to be part of the journey; I can’t wait to be a part of their next chapter”.