The Scoop: The power of the internet rests in its ability to connect, inform, and inspire communities. In recent years, Kuende has begun to harness that power by turning online interactions into offline friendships and relationships. The company sees great potential in experience-driven social networking, and it’s going all-in on the idea that an engaging digital community can spur IRL activities. Kuende’s unique, forward-thinking platform can help singles meet new people and expand their social circles in a very real way.
The internet has changed the social scene in many ways. Nowadays, laughing out loud, sharing a story, and liking someone have taken on a whole new meaning.
Technology has the ability to connect people all over the world, yet the online world can also cause a disconnect between friends, couples, and families.
Romanian entrepreneur Pavel Antohe wanted to bridge this divide, so he created a gamified social network called Kuende to nudge people back to the days when chatting took place over coffee, not over a screen.
“Our motivation for creating Kuende comes from witnessing a sad shift in human interaction,” said Director of Marketing and Business Development Maria Dinca. “No longer do families sit at the dinner table and share stories from their day. Friends have stopped enjoying each other’s company without the need to constantly check their phones.”
In 2013, Kuende was an idea in Pavel’s head. He wanted to redefine the purpose of a social platform and inspire users to like things in person. He came up with a system of challenges and rewards that would gamify real-life experiences.
Maria said Kuende’s mission is to “empower the human spirit and creativity by designing and supporting meaningful experiences.”
Gamified Challenges Encourage Real-Life Experiences
As a socially-responsible social network, Kuende endeavors to connect people online and offline. Its goal is to enhance human relationships by recognizing the value of real-life interactions.
Kuende currently has over 100,000 registered users, most of whom are young, digital natives looking for ways to build authentic relationships. These users hail from countries around the world — from the U.S. to India — and Kuende has seen great success across Europe, particularly in Germany, Romania, and Turkey.
Kuende has three different feeds: The Social Feed, The Challenges Feed, and The Discovery Feed.
The Social Feed offers a familiar layout where users can post, scroll, and comment to their heart’s content. The platform has a series of Achievements users can reach through their activity, earning Kpoints, the digital currency used on the platform, as a reward for being engaged in the conversation.
The Challenges Feed is about getting off your phone or computer and into real-life scenarios. It challenges users to create unique experiences, including camping, bar hopping, attending a concert, or making a new friend. Some challenges involve community events, while others promote local hot spots. Some can be accomplished by an individual, while others require groups of people to go out into the world together.
The Discovery Feed curates new content based on the individual’s interests and introduces users to a world of opportunity. Users can learn more about what others are up to, or they can use their bank of Kpoints to share their own ideas in the open forum.
With its unique design, Kuende has gamified social interactions and united people through their hobbies, interests, and values. Users can rack up Kpoints by completing challenges and then use those points to share posts, create challenges, or claim prizes in the Kshop.
Kuende also accepts Kuende Tokens (KUE), a cryptocurrency that gives members extra perks on the platform.
Anyone feeling up for a challenge can join Kuende and become more active, engaged, and joyful. Kuende rewards people for online and offline activity, so users who are open to new experiences will get the most out of this social network.
A Close-Knit Team of Doers & Dreamers
Kuende is a relatively small tech company with just 25 team members and 16 full-time developers working on the project. Its offices are in Romania and Switzerland.
“The team is by far one of the best I’ve personally worked with,” Maria told us. “The culture at Kuende is pretty awesome. We have gone to great lengths to build a young and dynamic team, and we are very proud of the family we’ve become.”
As the company’s founder, Pavel sets the tone for the company. His entrepreneurial spirit and intellectual curiosity encourages the team to grow and try new things.
By Pavel’s side is Teodor Pripoae (also known as Tony), who is CTO and Co-Founder of Kuende. Tony is one of the pioneers of Ruby on Rails, an open-source web application framework that helps developers create database-backed online and mobile services.
Co-Founder and CDO Mihnea Rafailescu (or Rafa, for short) came from a background in animation and design, and his artistic eye has shaped the look and feel of Kuende.
Kuende’s employees are smart, driven, and experienced. They understand the challenges of capturing attention in a fast-changing environment, and they believe Kuende can create a brighter future for everyone.
The company’s main priority right now is simply to spread the word and grow the Kuende community around the world. The team has collaborated with digital leaders, cryptocurrency experts, blockchain companies, and other social influencers to turn its vision into a reality. Pavel recently secured key partnerships in Southeast Asia, and the company is actively seeking investments to help stimulate growth in these markets.
Using Social Technology to Build Community Spirit
Humans are social creatures by nature. The instinct to communicate and socialize is encoded in our DNA, and many people find that sharing their lives with someone gives them a sense of fulfillment and belonging. Whether it’s a first date or a rooftop party, people seek heartfelt connections in all sorts of ways — and now they can go online to discover a community that suits their interests and social needs.
Kuende galvanizes individuals and gives them the tools to become part of a social group, society, or movement.
“I strongly believe that the next generation of social media platforms will be the one that empowers people,” Maria said. “We envision a generation of social media platforms designed to take care of users, from transparency and data protection to rewarding them for engagement and the value they add.”
Kuende strives to use technology to create valuable, real-life connections between people. Its tools give users an incentive to explore their neighborhoods, become familiar with local businesses, and experience something new. In short, Kuende helps people become part of an offline community.
“I love it so much,” said one Kuende member in a review. “It’s not Facebook, but it’s more than that.”
“Kuende is the only social media that rewards you for real-life interactions and enhances your well-being,” Pavel wrote on Medium. “It is the first true hybrid social media platform with online and offline components.”
Thanks to its innovative approach, Kuende has reminded people all over the world that technology exists to support real-life goals, creativity, and relationships.
Kuende Prioritizes Authentic Human Engagement
While most social networks devise ways to keep people’s eyes glued to their screens, Kuende has gone in the other direction and given its users an incentive to unplug and have fun in the real world. The social platform challenges people to have a picnic, go on a scavenger hunt, and enjoy the company of friends, family members, and significant others.
Singles who feel disconnected from their communities can turn to Kuende to find like-minded individuals who are eager to get in touch and enjoy memorable experiences together.
As Maria said, “People should join Kuende to find that social context they need, to feel that their time spent online can lead to more than just Likes or Hearts, to be part of a global network that is focusing on change, well-being, and social impact.”