Help us create a global ecosystem of learning spaces that invite humanity and meaningful connection
“I highly recommend Sutra as a platform for any online program or community.” – Meg Wheatley
Sutra is a social learning platform that helps creators with everything they need to deliver powerful group experiences that emphasize meaningful connection and conversation. Over the last seven years, more than 30,000 people have participated in groups on Sutra. Today, we’re asking for your support to take this work to the next level.
Please help us build a new kind of social platform designed around learning experiences that invite presence, meaningful connection, and shared understanding.
We (Natasha and Lorenz) started working together ten years ago. We felt deeply called to bring more love into the world through online work and kept prototyping different ideas. On the side we would host meetups and organize dinners exploring ways to create meaningful connection and conversation.
One of our favorite hobbies was learning together. We regularly participated in online courses and in-person workshops. Almost immediately we realized that if we didn’t have each other, we would never complete the programs we started. Online we felt alone and isolated. There was zero human connection and support.
In 2015, we participated in an online course (the uLab program from the Presencing Institute) where we actually felt a deep level of authentic connection with strangers that we met from around the world. At some point, we realized that well designed group learning experiences can be a catalyst for meaningful connection and conversation.
Why are we building this?
“The quality of results produced by any system depends on the quality of awareness from which people in the system operate.” – Otto Scharmer
It is our deepest conviction that what is most called for in the world today are relational spaces that cultivate meaningful connection and shared understanding. A relational experience invites us to be together as we are. We slow down, listen deeply, and feel each other’s presence. We share ourselves without fear of rejection or judgment. And we surface what is unspoken but communicated anyway in a space of mutual acceptance and love.
We believe that anybody can create an experience like this and that this work is relevant in any context. Whether you’re teaching mindfulness or marketing, building a community, or working within an organization, you can create a space for authentic relation to occur.
We built Sutra to help creators with everything they need to deliver truly relational experiences online.
Where we are now
Sutra has supported programs at organizations like the World Health Organization, the Presencing Institute, and the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma. We’ve worked with hundreds of creators and supported over 30,000 people participating in group experiences on Sutra.
Lorenz has been creating software for twenty years and Natasha has a masters degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. We’ve been living and breathing this work for the last seven years. We’ve learned a lot about what it takes to do this kind of work online and we feel that we’re in a unique position to create a new kind of social platform designed around helping people create spaces that invite deeper awareness and shared understanding.
We believe that one of the best ways to learn is through connection and conversation. We live in a world saturated with information. People are overwhelmed by content and there is no shortage of online courses. But what people yearn for is connection and belonging – spaces where they feel seen and supported.
Our vision is to create a global ecosystem of learning spaces that invite humanity and meaningful connection. Thousands of spaces, millions of people, stepping into new ways of being together – listening, feeling, and truly being with each other.
How we’re doing this
Sutra attracts people at all levels of experience – people who have been holding space, leading, and teaching for decades as well as people who are new to holding space and have something powerful to offer. All share a common thread of devotion to working with people in ways that uplift the human spirit. What is emerging is an incredible wealth of knowledge, understanding, and relationships. This is the heart of what we want to nurture and expand upon in the Sutra ecosystem.
We believe that by building a platform specifically designed to support heart centered creators we can create an entirely new kind of social platform based on shared purpose, mutual support, and meaningful exchange. Together, we can transform the world through presence and shared understanding.
That means continuing to evolve and improve our platform as we learn more and more about how to support experiences like this online. And it means creating more lines of connection between creators and the spaces that they offer. There are so many opportunities to cross pollinate and co-create, and we believe that this kind of relational economic exchange is at the heart of a more beautiful, peaceful, and prosperous world that we all know is possible.
The Sutra Platform
Sutra is designed to help creators with everything they need to deliver powerful group experiences. But we always say that Sutra by itself doesn’t magically create meaningful connection. It’s designed to support your process in a way that emphasizes conversation and connection over time.
If you run any kind of program that involves a series of Zoom calls, Sutra offers you a home for the overall experience. It provides one place to save call recordings, organize content, and offer discussion spaces to connect between zoom calls. And it handles everything, so you can create beautiful landing pages, process payments, and send out email broadcasts all in one place.
Here’s a story about Sonia who uses Sutra to help people overcome trauma with online voice work.
Here’s a story about Claudine who uses Sutra to create online spaces for conscious, societal evolution.
Here’s a story about the nINA Collective, a consulting cooperative that uses Sutra to deliver their online racial equity and inclusion programs.
Here’s a video overview of what Sutra can do for you:
Here’s a collection of testimonials from creators on our platform:
To learn more about how Sutra can support your online work, check out our website.
Wait, how is this different from what’s already out there?
One of the biggest differences is our emphasis on learning experiences and deeper conversation. Other community platforms often let you sell “courses”. But Sutra is designed around conversational learning experiences. You can use Sutra as a community platform or a course delivery platform but it’s really designed around learning together through conversation.
We make it easy to work with scalable small groups so that you can take a community of any size and easily assign members to small groups for more intimate discussions. Then you can tag messages and harvest what emerges.
Sutra is also super flexible and visually customizable.
With most other white label community platforms, once you set up a space, that becomes your primary context and workspace. Sutra makes it much easier to have many unique smaller scale contexts. You can easily create separate spaces for different purposes like working with a one on one client, a stand alone event, or different programs and communities.
And visually, you can customize Sutra much more than you can with most other platforms. Sutra makes it really easy to organize a collection of content pages and discussion spaces in any way that you want with any color theme that you want in a way that feels like a custom designed website.
Another big distinction is that whereas on most other white label community platforms you have a separate account for each community, on Sutra you have just one account across the whole system. So someone who participates in two different programs would log into Sutra with the same credentials and see both spaces on their homepage. This creates more of an ecosystem effect between different offerings.
If you’re comparing Sutra to any major social platform, then the biggest distinction might also be that we don’t do any advertising or tracking on our platform. Sutra is a safer alternative to modern social media.
These are the technical distinctions. The biggest distinction is energetic.
It’s like the difference between a regular music festival and Burning Man. Sutra attracts particular kinds of people and experiences. And because many of those people share a common orientation, there’s more opportunity to connect them and create lines of collaboration and cross-pollination between experiences. And that’s really what we want to expand upon with the ecosystem concept.
We regularly hear that Sutra has a very different “vibe” than other community platforms. Other platforms tend to be much more selling focused. Sutra lets you sell programs and process payments just like any platform, but our core intention is to support spaces that cultivate deeper levels of awareness and connection. This intention is at the heart of every decision we make. Also, many of our creators offer free programs or pay what you can and gift models and this is very much aligned with how we like to operate.
Building a high quality technology product takes a huge amount of resources. We have servers, infrastructure, and a team of eight incredible people around the world.
All of this costs thousands of dollars each month. So far we’ve been entirely self funded and we need your support to continue doing this work.
Right now, we’re raising $100,000 to take Sutra to the next level. Your contribution will help us scale our effort and reach more people with this work. This money will be used to support our team, improve our platform, and build new features specifically designed to create more connection and cross-pollination between creators and spaces.
Over the last seven years, we’ve built a really good product on virtually non-existent means. Our team is super committed, thrifty, and very resourceful. We have a deep understanding of how to create relational experiences online and we have a lot of exciting features in our pipeline. This money will help us build a truly incredible product designed to serve people who are holding space for transformation around the world. Together we can build a new kind of social platform designed around humanity and meaningful connection.
We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the exchange here and we’ve come up with some options that we think are really exciting.
Join the Sutra platform as a creator with a lifetime membership
First, if you’d like to use the Sutra platform as a creator, you can sign up for the first year at a heavily discounted price or you can join us with a lifetime membership. This is the only time we’re offering a life time option and we feel it’s a powerful way to recognize our early supporters.
Support creators on our platform with a pay it forward scholarship
You can also make a contribution towards a scholarship for a creator on Sutra. We never want money to be a reason why people can’t use Sutra. Your contribution makes it easier for us to support creators with less means.
Join us for our Transformational Teaching Online mentorship program at half price
TTO is a seven week mentorship program that gives you all the support you need to launch an online experience that truly touches people’s lives in a meaningful way. We share everything we’ve learned about program design, facilitation, online set up, and relational marketing. Most importantly, you’ll have a direct experience of what’s possible online. You can learn more about the program here: www.transformationalteaching.com
Join us for the Facilitate the Future summit
In September we’re hosting a week long event series exploring the power of relational facilitation and transformational teaching online. We’ll have sessions on transformational experience design, embodied practices online, facilitating an engaging online discussion experience, prototyping relational experiences, and tools for transformational teaching. This event is going to be packed full of everything we’ve learned about creating impactful learning experiences online.
Get a digital “Awareness is the Answer” poster
Our in house illustrator, Stella Maillot, created all the illustrations on our website and this page. She’s crafted a beautiful, high resolution digital poster to capture and convey the spirit of a truly relational future based on awareness and love. The detail is truly exquisite. We’ll send you an ultra high resolution PDF that you can explore and print.
Receive a beautiful illustrated avatar of yourself
For the more adventurous, we’ve come up with something totally unique: send us a high resolution photo of yourself and our talented in house illustrator, Stella Maillot, will create an original stylized avatar that you can use on Sutra or any other platform.
Get our Conversation Creator card deck
We’ve been hosting groups and creating connection for a long time. One of the things we wish we had all the time is a deck of cards filled with awesome opening and closing activities. To celebrate this crowd funder, that’s exactly what we’re going to create.
Whether you want to find the perfect closing question for your next session, or just a question to open a space of deep conversation between you and a group of friends, these beautifully illustrated cards will offer you inspiration.
We’ll host you and cook you dinner at our home in Berlin
Ok, this one’s a little out there, but we love hosting people so why not! Come spend a weekend with us in Berlin and stay in our cozy guest room. We’ll cook you dinner and spend an evening hanging out. It’ll be intimate, it’ll be awesome and we’ll all remember it fondly forever.
Be recognized as a Sutra supporter and have your name listed on our website forever
Whatever level you contribute at, your support means so much to us. Please know that even a small contribution helps us do this work and every contributor will be recognized forever on a special section of our website.
Together we can create the possibility of a more beautiful, peaceful, and prosperous world.