This post was originally written by Alex Schwartz and Cy Wise, co-founders of absurd:joy, on August 24, 2021.
Alex and Cy here with big news!
We’ve emerged from our absurd experimentation den with something we’re really excited about and are absolutely elated to share it with you today.
It’s called Tangle! It’s a collaboration tool that helps teams work, play, and exist together in a more human way. We made it for us– our entirely-remote studio needed a better home to exist together online– and we’re excited to share it with everyone else! We’re backed by world class investors and are going to bring this product to market soon so that everyone can have more joy in their remote life.
Check out what Tangle’s all about (and sign up for the Beta today) at Tangle.app, or continue reading to follow our journey!
After building Owlchemy Labs and Job Simulator, we gathered together a lovely bunch of developers, artists and designers to build meaningful interactive experiences. absurd:joy was originally planned as a remote studio– Owlchemy had started that way and we wanted to return to that paradigm as we found that remote, if done mindfully, can foster a really wonderful work-life balance while supporting human hearts in their natural environment.
However, we also assumed that in the 10 years since Owlchemy’s remote days the tools for remote companies would have evolved. They had not. The problems and pain points were too familiar. We were still silent faces in boxes, culture being distributed through the impersonal Slack feed, and the tangible sense-experience of being a part of the team lost in the void. We looked around at solutions to this problem but none of the existing options actually addressed the core issues. Inspired, we fired up Unity and created Tangle.
We made Tangle for ourselves. To collaborate meaningfully with our team. To jump into side conversations with each other seamlessly. To do focus work without being isolated. To leave notes on each other’s doors. To wander by our artist’s desk to see the concept art strung up around it. To laugh at the memes left on whiteboards in meetings we weren’t a part of. After months of building games as a team with Tangle as our primary communication platform, our friends began begging us for access and we realized that sharing this tool could bring us, our friends, and many others in many industries, vastly more joy.
Fast forward to today! We’re nine Absurdists and growing! We’ve had over a dozen teams secretly using Tangle every day over the past months, using it as a remote office– a place where remote culture could flourish, camaraderie could be built, and work and collaboration could happen naturally with far less friction than any other remote tool. We got to lean hard on our VR background and learnings to analyze and prioritize meaningful interactions, use visual and auditory language in ways humans already understand, and, of course, test earlier than we are generally comfy with to get tangible feedback and design for real humans in the wild.
We are excited to be backed by world-class investors who are in it for the long run. Huge hugs to March Capital who led the round, and big high fives to Dune Ventures, Gaingels, WXR, and our incredible angels who’ve helped us bring this vision to life. We wouldn’t be able to bring Tangle to the world without your support.
Our goal is to get Tangle in everyone’s hands by early next year. For now, we’re hand-selecting companies and teams who need a better solution for remote work and giving them early access to our Closed Beta. We’ll also be working with these teams to try out our freshly-squeezed new features and get feedback along the way. Avatars are a huge part of that, bringing a less exhausting way to be present with your team without your whole face on display every minute of every day. We’re also working on a visual and UI redesign to better allow people to intuitively navigate the space. Of course there’s a lot still to do but if our early testers are any indication, it seems we have something here that’s already making a huge difference in team communications and team culture. That’s a big deal to us.
We’re deeply passionate about our new remote work future. If we’ve learned anything about work over the past two years it’s that remote work is possible. But with a focus on designing tools and processes specific to remote work, we believe it can be beautiful. You should love and feel supported where you live, and work should support that flexibility. Being able to build software that enables a more human-centric future is very meaningful to us. Follow along as we figure out a new way to foster a better relationship with work.
To let us know you want Tangle, apply for the beta at Tangle.app!
For more info on the business-side of things, check out the press release.
This has been an incredible journey so far, and we are heckin’ delighted for this next round where we get to share it with the world.
-Alex and Cy