Back in June 2016 Greg Isenberg set out to create Islands. Islands was founded under the premise that when like-minded people come together, extraordinary things happen. Yet there was a problem with facilitating those connections. Greg observed that while groups were being formed in apps like Slack, FB Messenger, and GroupMe there was little flexibility to create groups based on their specific needs and the resulting experiences were less than optimal. Taking into consideration things like duration, type of content, and ephemerality Islands offered a way for groups to congregate and communicate in a fashion that was best suited to the specific needs of their group.
Islands grew rapidly — in a short period of time the app spread to a dozen colleges (colleges were the initial target segment for launch). Usage was impressive with high engagement (DAU/MAU that bettered Facebook and Snapchat) the viral coefficient was strong (3 new users generated on average for every 1 new user who signed up) and most importantly, meaningful connections were being facilitated.
Today, we are proud to announce that Islands has been acquired by WeWork. When you think about WeWork’s broader mission, this makes a ton of sense:
When we started WeWork in 2010, we wanted to build more than beautiful, shared office spaces. We wanted to build a community. A place you join as an individual, ‘me’, but where you become part of a greater ‘we’. A place where we’re redefining success measured by personal fulfillment, not just the bottom line. Community is our catalyst.
Community is about connection and with Islands being a platform to facilitate connections we can only assume WeWork will look to leverage Islands to better facilitate those connections across their community. While it remains to be seen exactly how the product will be integrated, we have a sneaking suspicion that the technology will in large part be utilized to help improve WeWork’s community (messaging) functionality. Presumably, the idea will be to help people find more relevant connections more readily while also helping to better facilitate existing connections ongoing.
Congrats to Greg & his team for bringing this vision to life and for creating a product that helps to connect people (at the risk of sounding political, the timing couldn’t be better).