Groups are all the rage right now. Facebook is focusing on them. Google is thought to be focusing on them. GroupMe, Beluga, etc. The fact that so many companies are focusing on them shows a common belief that they’re extremely important. Kohort, a new service launching today at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York, believes this as well. They just believe that everyone else has failed at them so far.
One reason is that Kohort believes the grouping features for most of these services are tacked-on. With Kohort, it’s the central feature. And it goes deep.
Kohort allows for hierarchical groups, so groups can have as many subgroups as a user would like. And there are Channels — groups of groups that can be created to better organize things. Users can subscribe to these Channels based on their interests.
The best way to think about Kohort is probably Google Groups meets the more modern grouping features. In that regard, it’s a bit like the recently launched Convore, but Kohort aims to be about more than just conversations as well. With that in mind, Ning or Meetup may be closer — or, wait for it, the now defunct Google Wave.
The revenue play is to have sponsored groups and well as premium groups. But the vast majority of Kohort groups will always be free and supported by ads.
In April, Kohort raised a large $3 million seed round from IA Ventures, RRE, and others.
Here’s their presentation
Judge Q&A with Jeff Clavier, Shana Fisher, Roger Ehrenberg, Saul Hansel
SF: What’s the model?
A: It’s free and prosumer.
SH: From free to $99 a month is a big step.
A: If you have a group that has less than a large amount of users, it’s free.
SH: How do you compare this to Ning?
A: There are a lot of players in the space. But we have more features.
SF: Yeah a lot of competitors.
A: Again, we have a lot of features. And we made it social.
SF: How do you make it social?
A: Groups in the real world interact. But that’s tough online. Usually it’s a phone call, we give you more tools.
SH: Even though you’re freemium, is your heart with the big groups?
A: We think this serves everybody. From big groups to to small organizations.