Welcoming Midst to Genesis

On behalf of the Genesis Program, I’m excited to announce our recent investment in Midst. Midst will enable poets and other creative writers to spend more time doing what they love, and less time digging through drafts and edits throughout the writing process.

The Problem

Poets and other writers increasingly work digitally. Unlike with a traditional notebook, where looking through previous drafts is as easy as flipping a page, these writers have no convenient way to access their own revision history. They often end up either not saving drafts at all — which will result in serious deficits in contemporary archives — or saving file after file of the same work, resulting in messy, disorganized folders that are difficult to navigate.

Midst solves this problem by providing a clean, minimalist writing interface — a desktop word-processing application — integrated with a built-in timeline, allowing writers private access to every version of a document within a single file: like Github for creative writing. Where a typical word processor might require a poet to open twelve different windows with no clear indication of when and where changes have taken place, Midst provides a single timeline with draft markers, so reviewing changes is as easy as clicking the rewind button.

The Founders

Midst was founded by Annelyse Gelman (CEO) and Jason Grier (CTO). Annelyse met Jason through a mutual friend while she was a Fulbright fellow in Berlin. They began co-producing music and then moved on to building Midst together earlier this year after Annelyse shared the idea with Jason.

Annelyse Gelman (L) & Jason Grier (R)

Annelyse Gelman — Annelyse serves as the CEO of Midst. Annelyse is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts as a Fellow in the Michener Center for Writers. Her writing has been featured in dozens of publications. Her extensive experience gives her a keen understanding of the issues that often plague writers. She will ensure that the Midst app provides the solutions to these issues and helps make writing more fun and easy.

Jason Grier — Jason serves as the CTO of Midst. He has over 10 years of experience in various developer roles and has used these skills to help Annelyse build the current iteration of her product. He will continue to be the head developer for the Midst app.

How’re They Doing?

Midst was founded just this year and has built a first iteration of the Midst app. They are testing it with a small group of users who will provide invaluable feedback on features and app design. The team is also building a publishing platform that will serve as a free educational resource, giving readers a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process of poets and other writers. The Midst team is starting by empowering poets but hopes to build its app in a way that enables it to empower all kinds of writers across the world.

Why I Led This Deal by Juan Alvarez, Venture Partner

When Annelyse pitched the idea for Midst to Genesis, I felt an immediate connection to the Midst venture and cause. As someone who enjoys poetry, I could clearly appreciate the unique ways the Midst app solves many of the difficulties I have encountered when writing. It was obvious that the Midst team was not only very experienced in the areas necessary to develop this venture, but also deeply passionate about it. A combination of a unique product, technical talent, and motivation, inspired Genesis to back Midst. We can’t wait to see the way it helps writers improve their craft at the University of Texas and across the world.