Building a More Intimate Internet

We believe that you deserve more out of social apps. You deserve products and experiences that ease and enrich daily life – rather than enrage or erode emotional resilience. You deserve a principled devotion to delivering more intimate encounters online. You deserve more understanding. More kindness. More connection. More time spent with the people you cherish.

Of course, you also deserve more than empty promises…

Together, we can create a kinder, more human place to socialize. To communicate. Share ideas. Reveal feelings. Inject light and levity into life’s tougher moments. 

That’s why we’re committing to a series of ironclad principles, embraced by our team and embedded across our product experience. Expect more of what’s good, more of what’s right, in every touch-point, prompt, and interaction on IRL. This effort isn’t fixed or finite–it will continue in perpetuity, as we pursue the ever-elusive prospect of engineering the world’s best place to reach out and connect with people and communities that you cherish.

Our 8 Principles For a More Intimate Internet

1) Real intimacy requires attention and intention.

Messaging is about far more than just thumb-talking. It’s about a universal human desire to live and exist in relationships. It’s about dialogue; not monologue. We, not just me. The perception of closeness is not enough; it is a real emotional alignment that permits and eases the exchange of personal feelings. It’s about building trust, and cultivating greater understanding, more frequent acknowledgment and affirmation, and expressions of sincere care and concern. Text may be the preferred format, but intimate context is what counts.

2) We’re investing in Digital Hygiene, Digital Literacy, and Digital Nutrition. 

No one ever taught us the basics of good digital anything–not as kids, not as adolescents, not as adults. We believe that a common understanding of “good digital” and good digital hygiene and nutrition is badly needed. That’s why we’ve made a major investment across these categories, including sixteen (16) patents in partnership with the world leader in Digital Nutrition™: AeBeZe Labs. We’re actively incorporating the latest findings in neuroscience to provide the right tools, prompts, and nudges to bring digital dialogue closer to the richness of encounters in real life (IRL).

3) Environment is everything.

A theater is captivating. A quiet library is less distracting. And a monastery generally lends itself to reflection. The power of place is undeniable and often overlooked. We are designing IRL moments, screens, chat rooms, and other app settings to borrow and optimize lessons from the physical world, to woo and wow people.

4) Emotions matter.

We must remember there are real people on the receiving end of our chat communications. We are committed to helping groups and communities to treat their interactions with more care. As a company, our goal can’t be keeping people glued to their screens with algorithms that favor conflict and drama. Creating a more accountable community requires a commitment to acting in good faith, to give comfort and solace, not create anxiety or fear.

5) Your well-being is impacted directly by every decision we make.

It’s deceptively easy to treat design or engineering as a theoretical exercise. Every pixel, gesture, vibration, and notification should improve your life. Your safety and well-being are of paramount importance to us. We believe it’s a sacred privilege to work with and for real people. And our design decisions must be shaped and informed by the needs of human beings: real people with real names.

6) We’re committed to wonder and awe.

We used to be in awe of technology. We still are, but it’s a given these days. Our vision is to rediscover the power of communication we find truly delightful and meaningful. We all want to feel and know that the world is (still) a wondrous place. We’re optimistic, and we intend to deliver more communication magic all the time.

7) Boundaries are essential. 

For good behavior to flourish, good fencing is required. That means rules and expectations that foster kindness, nuance, depth, and dimension in conversation and relationship building.

8) Progress matters.

We all tend to wrinkle or withdraw into despair when we sense that friendships or other intimate bonds are stale or stalled. IRL is, and will always be, designed to help users achieve a real sense of progress regarding intimacy in their communication(s) and relationships.

IRL – Series C and the Next Chapter

The level of superhuman team effort, conviction, adaptability and consistency it has taken our entire team, investors, and advisors to get us to this point has been humbling, to say the least. I believe when people work on something greater than themselves they are able to make the impossible possible. Our mission and focus to drive more human connection in the world hit a critical point during the pandemic. While we were experiencing our own major loss of human connection so was the entire world. It became an opportunity to really show up and work for something greater than ourselves in a global emergency. It brought our team closer together and in turn, we have helped people spend over 1 Billion hours of time together either In Real Life or In Remote Life. I am so grateful for the unwavering belief from Chi-Hua ChienMike Maples, Jr Edward Suh and I am so honored and excited to be partnering with Softbank in this next chapter with Masayoshi Son, Nagraj KashyapSerena DayalNavraj Rai.

We are just getting started and we have a lot of meaningful work in front of us but I am more confident than ever because I know that as long as we stay focused on working on something bigger than ourselves and put our energy into how we can be of service to bringing humanity back together, that anything and everything is possible.


Abraham Shafi – CEO/Co-Founder

Time Together

Time Together

Time is the most valuable resource on earth because no matter what happens we can’t make more time, unless of course we figure out time machines, until then how we spend our time is how we spend our life. 

At IRL we are dedicated to building a social product that helps you spend more time together with friends and family, not more time on app. In the longest study ever done on happiness, the unequivocal take-away is that there is indeed a key to happiness: the quality of your relationships.

Today, and especially in this time of COVID-19, it’s easier than ever to spend time alone, and harder than ever to spend time together. Think of how much time we spend consuming content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok, YouTube, Netflix, and more. At IRL, we believe you can spend more of that time sharing with others. On a call in remote life, watching something together, playing together, or being together in real life when safe. Time Together is Time Together – whether virtually or in person.

Since we have launched IRL we have helped people plan over 300M hours of Time Together, now averaging about 1M hours a day. This is a very exciting start and we have learned a lot over the last year on how to help you make the most out of your time. 

We are dedicated to providing the best ways to help you get the most out of life. Today we are excited to announce two great new features we hope will help you all spend more time together: 

  1. Groups– We have all been a part of group chats and suggested events always get lost in the fray of memes and conversations. We are launching group calendars. An easy way to connect any upcoming events to any group you are already a part of. Just create the group on IRL and share the link in any group chat. It is viewable on web and easy to engage with on iOS and Android.
  1. College Event Network  - It’s hard enough to keep up with everything happening on campus without a pandemic, with group chats and flyer boards dominating how we keep in touch with whats going on, it has gotten even harder without being able to be on campus. Today, we are announcing a college event network. Just sign in with your .edu and you get access to all calendars, events, and active groups on your campus. You can even make your own group and see who wants to join! 

We are listening and learning about how to best serve you and this is just the beginning. So much more to come!  

Let’s all do more together – 

IRL – In Real/Remote Life

When we founded IRL, we had a simple goal: We wanted to help you, our users, spend more time with your friends in the real world, in order to boost your overall happiness. 

We have been building our IRL apps and website to help you manage your time better, find more ways to coordinate and get out with your friends, and discover new things to do together. We named it IRL, or “In Real Life” because we believe that what happens in real life is so much more valuable, and more fun, than just what gets shared later on social media. 

Today, as the world fights Coronavirus, or COVID-19, real life is changing. In order to stay safe from getting sick, or from getting the virus and passing it to our friends, colleagues, and loved ones, we are all radically shifting what our “real life” is. Instead of getting together, we’re staying home. And, we’re staying safe. In these times, we believe it’s more important than ever to spend meaningful time with your friends. We want to help you do this. Our mission hasn’t changed even though our lives temporarily have. 

IRL is getting a new look today. We’re calling this “In Remote Life”. Our core social calendar will still work just as it has. We’re introducing a number of new suggestions and suggested calendar events to help you plan for a remote day. We have reminders for you to call your friends, and are building ways for you and friends to share open times when you can plan ahead to talk or hang out on a zoom or Facetime. And we want to help you navigate this new life, this “remote” life. 

We’re overhauling our directory of events around you to events you can join remotely. While our favorite concerts, sporting events, and local festivals are paused, there are more interesting things to join with your friends online than ever. IRL will feature live concerts, live streams on Twitch or YouTube, and many more things you can do online, together with friends. We think this will be one of the biggest live directories on the internet. If you see something cool you want to attend, you can add a listing too. 

More than ever, we believe in the power of spending time with friends is what makes our lives better and happier. Even if you can’t be physically together right now, we want to help you make the most of your remote time. Please let us know what you think and what else we can do to help as we all get through this, together.  

With Love,

The IRL Team