Altside & Gmeet: New ways to connect LGBT+ people

by Made By Todd in Manchester, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 10th December 2019 we successfully raised £7,354 with 125 supporters in 35 days

Pledging gets you discounted membership and more. We're creating online and real world ways to connect LGBT+ people with shared interests.

by Made By Todd in Manchester, England, United Kingdom

Let’s make a better way for LGBT+ people to connect. We're creating an exciting new online and real world social club built on the principles of a successful concept by the same founder 20 years ago, but updated for modern tech and the way people interact today. We aim to bring people together in a supportive and welcoming space for all.

We’ve already engaged nearly 10,000 people from over 60 countries with the vision of a better way to meet and to support the community. We will fill the gaps that modern online social networks and apps have failed to fill and have the wellbeing of people at our heart, not data nor financial profits. We’ve got a track record in creating innovative ways for people to meet, one that has already created thousands of friendships and lasting real world connections.

We’re a social enterprise not a commercial business.

Gmeet and Altside are about creating lasting real world connections, friendships and deep personal relationships, a new generation of social space for the global LGBT+ community that welcomes straight people too and aims to build genuine connections.

Blending online social networking and real world events organised by our subscribers, our web apps will become the online hub for sharing content, finding people who share your interests and communicating with them in ways that best suit you and them.

There is one online platform dedicated to this with two access points, one called Gmeet and another called Altside.

Most existing apps for LGBT+ people are one-dimensional: niche apps that don’t let you post any content that reflects your wider personality and life; so-called dating apps that are about finding quick gratification based on who’s near you right now; meet-up apps where you swipe through faces rather than discover if you may connect with someone on a deeper level for fun and friendship.

We’re introducing a brand new concept of "sides", enabling people to create multiple different linked profiles, each exhibiting a different side of their life or designed to help connect to different people for different intentions. Check out some more features:

  • Modern design, incredibly easy-to-learn and easy-to-use interface
  • Works great on phones, tablets, laptops and desktop
  • Social media with detailed profiles, events, groups and feeds
  • Set up multiple profile sides
  • Set more than one location to discover stuff in places you regularly visit
  • 1-to-1 meet planning
  • Meet verifications
  • Build trust scores
  • Live chat with location sharing
  • Focused chat inboxes
  • Group chats
  • Interest groups
  • Advanced filtering so you see only who and what you want
  • Two-way filtering so your profile's shown only to those you want to see it
  • Mutual interest matching
  • Smart recommendations
  • Anonymous support groups
  • Friends and followers
  • Feed of people, groups and events you follow
  • Profile reactions
  • Text and photo polls
  • Location-aware feeds
  • Profiles for organisations
  • Event organising, invitations and reminders
  • Travel planning
  • Unlimited photos and additional galleries
  • Web app so adding icon to phone is optional

We’re building a fresh approach to bring people with shared interests together and we’re set up as a social enterprise to ensure the emphasis is always on pumping profits back into working on behalf of the community and our subscribers.

More and more LGBT+ content is being shut down online, banned from the mainstream social networks or adversely affected by secretive changes to algorithms, including the important work of educators and support networks. As such, we need a professional organisation that’s dedicated to and cares about the LGBT+ community and our allies, and is more than just yet another hook-up or dating app.

We are focused first and foremost on LGBT+ people, and will always innovate and look to keep ahead of the commercial apps but with a focus on services for our subscribers and the wider community - rather than for advertisers or to simply gather more data - because that’s what we’ve been created to do. As we don't have any commercial shareholders, we don't need or want to keep money aside for their dividends that could be better spent improving our services.


The concept we’re going to use is built on a solid foundation of a successful events and online social network called OUTintheUK created 20 years ago by the same founder, one that had a great track record in bringing people together and creating meaningful friendships and relationships. Subscribers chatted online, met one-to-one, many also created events, and organisations were able to become partners, supporting subscribers and enabling everyone to find stuff to do that was fun and engaging where people could be themselves.

We want to provide benefits with a focus on those looking to meet other like-minded people and find out about services, events and organisations dedicated to bringing the LGBT+ community and its allies together.

We are also bringing a totally new and unique approach to social profiles that will enable people to store multiple profiles and linked 'identities' so that they can feel safe and have any or all of, for example, a friendship profile, a dating-related profile, a work-based profile and a play profile.


Conceived to be the antithesis of the hook-up apps and swipe dating apps of the online world in 2019, the concept is built on a solid background of understanding social interactions and blending online/offline networking long before "social media" was a term. It will bring a totally fresh approach to the way LGBT+ people can discover and build local and global connections.

There will be a trust network and meet verification options so people know for sure who they are talking to. It will enable people unsure of their sexuality or gender identity to join in a secure supportive space and to later choose to come out and explore the rest of the community if they wish. Gmeet & Altside will enable LGBT+ groups, charities and events organisers to join and promote their activities, as well as enable individuals to create real world events and invite people to them.

Unlike most mainstream apps we will not use third-party ad networks or external analytics and monitoring services so you can be confident your use of our apps will not be tracked by external companies designed to gather your data and serve you ads.

We’ve got to where we are today thanks to our first very successful crowdfunding campaign in 2018.

The funds from that campaign enabled us to get started and to commit to creating the Made By Todd platform and apps. It has enabled us to scope out the entire project, find and employ a talented full-time digital designer who has created the amazing, modern and very easy-to-use interface, as well as code web templates for hundreds of features of our platform.

These represent all core areas of the app, not just how it will be at launch but also multiple major future releases and upgrades of each of these areas.

The screenshots below show just a handful of the dozens of project pages from the design toolkit, each covering a different area and launch phase of specific features.

It also enabled us to create internal prototypes, as well as many high quality, realistic renders of the app that have helped us demonstrate our vision as well as design, storyboard and produce our marketing video.

Further, it funded the design and build of our “Early Access” pre-launch registration site that enables people to claim usernames on the platform, upload profile and header photos and set up basic profile information. We’ve recently added public sharing of profiles and created a popular referrals programme that has boosted initial figures to nearly 10,000 people.


The concept comes from the evolution of OUTintheUK (known as OUT), the first web-based social network for gay men where friendships and real world events were key to bringing people together. This was created by our founder in 1995, starting life as a hobby that developed more seriously through the early 2000s. Another version was launched for women and later both expanded to people outside the UK before finally merging in 2005.

It ultimately grew to a peak active subscriber base of over 100,000 even before many people were using the internet. It resulted in many hundreds of relationships that have stood the test of time, and many thousands of friendships which still exist to this day. Subscribers organised over 5,000 events a year as diverse as theme park days, cocktail parties, ten-pin bowling, live music gigs, cinema nights, week-long holidays abroad, short city breaks, dance club nights and 4x4 off-roading.

But a lot of the principles of OUT were based on the way gay life was 15-20 years ago and it never adapted to a mobile world, existing long before smartphones were invented and everyone had the internet in their hands. Development of the concept ceased long before mobile wireless internet was commonplace.

Time marches on and, although many apps have come along and other gay websites have come and gone in the last decade, these have all been mainly "hookup" apps. 

While "coming out" is a different experience these days and in many areas of the world many more people are open about being gay and have openly gay friends, it is still a major struggle for a lot of people and there is still a need for a supportive and safe space for everyone irrespective of sexuality or gender - but crucially also their friends, whatever their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Many recent studies show that today's major social networks are in fact isolating and can foster loneliness and feelings of envy or inadequacy. In contrast, OUT developed and harnessed an approach that lead to far more engaging face-to-face social interaction, a more inclusive and enriching experience than today's modern social media platforms.

Gmeet & Altside will build on key elements of OUT's successful model of forging friendships and genuine connections. We feel there's still a place for an approach that unites and blends the online and offline worlds of LGBT+ people and their friends and that is focused more on fostering friendships and bringing people with shared interests together; one that is a much smaller and tighter knit community of people than major "generic" social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Often the larger commercial networks’ prime reason for existence has become to gather immense amounts of personal data and to be an advertising network rather than to exist purely for the benefit of the people using the services, and where a lot of LGBT+ content and producers are being censored or restricted by changes to algorithms designed to heavily filter content.


All rewards featuring Founder Subscriptions give one subscription at up to 60% off the proposed launch price of our subscriptions by doubling the subscription period for free. For example, at launch we will offer 1 Year for £49 but pledge just £42 here on our crowdfunder and you will not only lock yourself into £42 for all future 1 Year renewals, but we'll add an extra year to your first subscription too: 2 Years for only £42.

The aim is to build a new organisation from the ground up that’s a more modern, inclusive and mobile-first version of what OUT started life as back in 1995; to be a supportive and friendly space for LGBT+ people of whatever sexuality and gender identity to come together, welcoming their straight friends too, to build networks, create or go to social events, and to generally be a positive force in the world.

We want to put an end to fake profiles, catfishing, time wasters and ghosting. We don’t want to boost numbers and profits at the expense of creating a fantastic experience for subscribers where people feel confident that the people they are talking to really are who they say they are and, when they arrange to meet, will actually turn up. So we’re pioneering some interesting new features that will help people to build trust and to better judge whether someone is genuine.

In time we will provide anonymous peer support groups online where people can seek advice about issues that are important to them but where they may not feel they can post their identity. Our founder pioneered this type of service before, 20 years ago, and with a zero tolerance policy on abuse of the feature we believe it can still work and be a real help to people struggling with all manner of issues.

Our main House Rule will be that everyone behaves respectfully toward each other and that we will not tolerate content that promotes hate towards any part of the LGBT+ community, nor which promotes self-harm, abuse, violence or non-consensual activities of any kind. We also have an obligation to respect the law, and the rights and privacy of other people, and will take our duty of care and personal safety seriously. These considerations are paramount.

Choose a Founder Subscriber reward (6 months and higher) and we will give one account twice the subscription time and we'll fix your renewal price at the same low discounted Founder Rate every year. Your price will stay the same as today even when our subscription rates go up in future.

This benefit is only available to crowdfunders and we’re backdating it to supporters of our previous crowdfunder too. As a Founder Subscriber you'll also be able to optionally display a Founder Ribbon on your profile and/or the Subscriber Star next to username once we launch.

We're giving branded merchandise options as additional rewards. Apparel, accessories and metal pin badges are being sourced and the pictures below give an illustration before the designs are finalised.

For clothing and bags rewards, you will have a choice of logo and colours, along with optional text and username.

Note that exchange rates vary and banks will charge different amounts for currency conversion, however as a guide the recent bank rates for £10.00 are approximately: 11.60 EUR, USD 12.85, 16.80 CAD, 18.80 AUD.

Apps that you download from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store are called “native” apps. However, in recent years new technology standards for the web and improvements in modern web browsers have seen the rise of “progressive web apps” (PWAs). More than just a mobile-optimised website, these are a new type of app that live on the web but look, feel and behave just like a regular native app that you've had to download to your phone or your tablet - but also work on your laptop or desktop computer and don't need to be downloaded from an app store.

Although you can add PWAs to your home screen, you don't have to and so you can use them discreetly without downloading them to your phone or other device. You can go to your device's web browser and access them from there.

We’ve chosen to build Gmeet & Altside as PWAs rather than native apps because we believe this is where the future lies. It also, given recent censorship of LGBT+ content across the monolithic US tech companies, and for example the removal of Google Play from Huawei devices, means we are bound only by actual laws and not the whims and corporate rules of app stores and the individuals who review apps.


Although we’re a social enterprise and not a commercial business, we have costs that need to be funded to not just survive but to thrive and grow, to provide worthwhile and useful services to our subscribers that improve with time. We need to build a fantastic first release, generate and support more people, and have enough "runway" to keep ourselves going while we ramp up the size of our community.

We need to employ trusted and trained professionals to work full-time delivering great services. We don’t want to starve the enterprise of cash and to just stay still, never launching new features or improvements, and we need cash to be able to achieve fantastic marketing that helps bring other people to the club.

Remember we’re more than just an app: by joining Gmeet or Altside you become a part of the Made By Todd club which, in time, will also see subscribers organising real-world events for others to meet at, as well as the one-to-one meet features and online chat and support network that the apps will provide.

We’re going to use the same model that OUT used many years ago which was to enable as many core online features as possible to be free for everyone; and to allow absolutely everyone to attend real world events regardless of whether or not they’re a subscriber, although those who subscribe often enjoyed discounted ticket prices.

We’ll give every new sign-up 14 days’ free subscription to try everything out. Beyond that, we want to ensure those who choose not to pay to subscribe will still have no limits on the number of profiles they can look at, the number of photos and updates they can see, nor the number of posts they can make on their own feed - and that they will still be able to chat freely with any paid subscriber for as long as they like, as often as they like.

Not everyone has the cash to help support us financially with a paid subscription, so we will also continue our introductory Referral Programme that enables people to subscribe potentially forever without parting with cash if they feel they cannot support us financially.

We are also introducing "Boosts" that will enable people to pay on a "Pay As You Go" basis for additional highlighting of content, whether their profile, events or groups, to relevant people if they would like to see such content.

To mitigate the risk of there being no people to find and connect with at launch, we created our “Early Access” pre-launch registration site. This has seen nearly 10,000 people register from over 60 different countries, ensuring the apps will be populated with people at launch. New sign-ups continue so numbers are growing every day.

There are also the obvious legal challenges of hosting user-generated content, relating not only to copyright infringements but also “policing” hate speech and heated arguments between users, as well as ensuring photographic content uploaded to our platform is lawful in the UK where we are based. Our founder was dealing with all of these issues before social media even truly existed at a time that very few other people understood the issues of cyberbullying, online harassment and “keyboard warriors”.

We don’t underestimate the challenges of moderating online content, trolling and “flame wars” but will do everything we can to ensure the online platform is a supportive and welcoming space.

You can share this crowdfunding link with your friends or post on social media about Gmeet and/or Altside, whichever you prefer, and encourage people to register on the pre-launch websites.

Remember that for every person who signs up and becomes a paying subscriber thanks to your referral, you can get free subscription time. So there are plenty of great ways to help if you cannot support the project financially. If someone you’ve already referred pledges on this crowdfunder for any 12+ Month Subscription, you’ll still receive your free time as if they’d paid on the app after launch.

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Can I pledge anonymously so my name is not displayed?

Yes! We will get your contact info so that we can give your reward to you but you can ensure your name is not displayed in the supporters list on Crowdfunder. Simply tick the "Make my pledge anonymous" button at checkout and don't post any comments. That way your pledge will appear on this website as "Anonymous".

Can I pledge to become a Subscriber from outside the UK?

Yes, please do! Crowdfunder is open to backers all over the world. Anyone can pledge on a project, the only requirement is a major credit card. For options with delivered merchandise, please choose the additional International Postage option at checkout.

Are you a business or a charity?

We are a UK Community Interest Company (CIC) set up without shareholders. This is a special legal entity in the UK that is regulated by the CIC Regulator. So we are a social enterprise, neither a standard Limited Company nor a charity.

A CIC is a company that looks to tackle social issues and improve communities and people's lives. Legally all assets are locked within the CIC, so every bit of profit the company makes must and will be put back into improving our services and for the direct benefit of the community.

What happens if we don’t reach our goal of £35,000?

After achieving all of our early goals and successfully demonstrating there is a market for the platform, this crowdfunder marks the second phase of our launch funding goal.

We have opted for a flexible funding goal so that in the sad situation that we don’t reach that goal, we will still launch early in 2020 but we would re-evaluate which features and functions are built into the launch version. 

With less cash we would be able to support fewer people as we would need to restrict our hosting infrastructure and technology costs so we may need to implement a wait list; and we would have less to spend on marketing and raising our profile, so the potential growth would be a bit slower. However, in such a case we would re-plan the project and decide how best to progress with whatever amount of cash we raise from the crowd.

Meeting our goal will mean that some of the more complex but important features we want to bring to the app (such as 1-On-1 Meet Planning and their related Meet Verifications) can be implemented in the launch version.

What happens if we collect more than £35,000?

The amount we raise in this second crowdfunder will determine the speed at which we can build and launch new features, and how far we can take the apps and grow the subscriber base in 2020.

The more funding we receive now, the greater the potential to get additional developers on-board, resulting in more features being delivered sooner; and the more marketing we will be able to do to raise awareness of Gmeet and Altside in their respective markets, bringing more people for you to chat to and meet.

How are you going to use the money from the campaign?

All the funds will be used to support the further design and development of the platform, to pay for the technology and hosting costs and to help spread the word. A lot of the development work is being done free by our founder but the more we can raise from this crowdfunder, the greater the potential to hire some of his trusted network of developers to speed up the process of building features.

When is Made By Todd and the online apps launching?

Made By Todd is already set up as a social enterprise. We are releasing the alpha version of the app in early 2020 to early testers. The beta launch will follow soon after. We will launch event features as soon as funding allows in 2020, when people will be able to start organising events for other subscribers.

When is the expected delivery of the rewards and merchandise?

Accounting for production timescales, we currently estimate a delivery date of late February 2020 for the physical rewards but we hope to ship earlier. International delivery may take longer and you should choose the additional International Postage option at checkout.

Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£42 or more

1 Year Founder Subscriber + 1 More Year Free

★ Pledge £42 now and we'll fix your account’s pricing at this discounted Founder Rate for all renewals. You will never pay more than £42 for a 12 Month Subscription ★ 1x 12 Month Subscription ★ FREE extra 12 Month Subscription extension ★ Option to show Founder Ribbon on profile and/or Subscriber Star by your username ★ Extra 2 weeks potential free subscription referral (total 6 weeks each) ★ 2 free Boosts per month ★

£8 or more

Special Thanks

★ Receive amazing karma for your beautiful pledge ★ Extra week potential free subscription per referral (total 5 weeks each) ★ Have one of your profile sides listed with all other pledgers on a special part of the app (if you want to be, privacy respected) ★

£19 or more

90 Day Taster Subscription

★ 1x 90 Day Subscription ★ Extra week potential free subscription per referral (total 5 weeks each) ★ Optional listing on special part of app for pledgers ★

£28 or more

6 Month Founder Subscriber + 6 More Months Free

★ Pledge £28 now and we'll fix your account’s pricing at this discounted Founder Rate for all renewals. You'll never pay more for a 6 Month Subscription ★ 1x 6 Month Subscription ★ FREE extra 6 Month Subscription extension ★ Option to show Founder Ribbon on profile and/or Subscriber Star by your username ★ Extra 2 weeks potential free subscription per referral (total 6 weeks) ★ 1 free Boost every month ★

£42 or more

1 Year Founder Subscriber + 1 More Year Free

★ Pledge £42 now and we'll fix your account’s pricing at this discounted Founder Rate for all renewals. You will never pay more than £42 for a 12 Month Subscription ★ 1x 12 Month Subscription ★ FREE extra 12 Month Subscription extension ★ Option to show Founder Ribbon on profile and/or Subscriber Star by your username ★ Extra 2 weeks potential free subscription referral (total 6 weeks each) ★ 2 free Boosts per month ★

£60 or more

1+1 Year Founder & Goodies

★ 1x 12 Month Founder Subscription ★ FREE extra 12 Month Subscription extension ★ Founder status so renewals fixed at discounted Founder Rate ★ Option to show Founder Ribbon on profile and/or Subscriber Star by your username ★ Metal Logo Pin Badge and Pack of Stickers ★ Extra 2 weeks potential free subscription per referral (total 6 weeks each) ★ 2 free Boosts per month ★

£100 or more

1+1 Year & Merch

★ Everything from the 1+1 Year Founder & Goodies reward including renewals permanently fixed at discounted Founder Rate plus your choice of one merch item e.g. vest top, t-shirt, hoodie, gym bag - with a choice of colour, size and style (exact items and look are yet to be finalised) ★

£110 or more

Two 1+1 Year Founder & Goodies

★ Save £10 by grabbing 2 of everything in the 1+1 Year Founder & Goodies Reward: gift one to a friend or partner ★ That's FOUR years' worth of subscriptions in total, split for two people! ★

£155 or more

Three 1+1 Year Founder & Goodies

★ Living it wild? Save £25 by grabbing 3 of everything in the 1+1 Year Founder & Goodies Reward for your friends or family group ★ That's SIX years' worth of subscriptions in total, split for three people! ★

£230 or more

Two 1+1 Year Sharing Custom Merch & Bumper Goodies

★ 2x 12 Month Founder Subscriptions ★ FREE extra 12 Month Subscription extension on both! ★ Option to show profile Founder Ribbon and/or Subscriber Stars ★ 4 Metal Pin Badges and Large Pack of Stickers ★ Your choice of 2 merch items - exact items and look to be finalised, you’ll get a choice of colours, sizes and styles and your @username added if you want it ★ Extra 4 weeks potential free subscription per referral (total 8 weeks) ★

£250 or more

5 Year Founder Subscriber with Special Bonus

★ 1x 5 Year Founder Subscription for you ★ Plus 3 more 12 Month Subscriptions for you to give away ★ Option to show Founder Ribbon on profile and/or Subscriber Star by your username ★ 1x Alpha Tester Access ★ Private Chat Group Access (access to our internal private chat group to see upcoming features and have your say) ★ Extra 4 weeks potential free subscription per referral (total 8 weeks) ★

£500 or more

Founding 500+ Club

★ Pretty much everything and a shed load of love on top! ★ Founder status, the Custom Merch & Bumper Goodies reward with 5 Year Subscription, even the 3 extra 12 Month Subscriptions for you to give away ★ As well as the option to show the Founder Ribbon and/or Subscriber Star we’ll also list you as a member of the ‘Founding 500+’ Club on the pledgers area of the app ★ Private Chat Group Access ★

£1,000 or more

Promoter 5 Year + 10

★ You get Founder status, a 5 Year Subscription for your own account, plus 10 more 12 Month Subscriptions to give away at events, on your social media, wherever you like ★ While only you'll have the option to show the Founder Ribbon on your profile, we’ll fix renewals on all 10 additional accounts into Founder Rate so you can shout about these being permanently discounted subscriptions ★ We’ll also give you a number of free Boosts each month ★

£5,000 or more

Help Us Gift 100 Subscriptions

We're designers and developers and so can build something like Gmeet & Altside. Like us, you want to make a huge difference to the LGBT+ community. You have funds to give to a project you believe in that's dedicated to improving lives. Help ensure we can build and deliver more benefits to the community sooner; and help us to give away one hundred 6 Month Subscriptions to people who love the platform but have never been able to subscribe.

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