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That fear of a hostile in-group culture is well founded. Clubhouse, an audio-first social-media app used by many with Silicon Valley ties, was launched to critical acclaim earlier this year, only to devolve into the type of misogynistic vitriol that has seeped into every corner of the internet. Just last week, it came under fire for anti-Semitism.

So far, Telepath has been dominated by Silicon Valley types, journalists, and others with spheres of influence outside the app. It’s not a diverse crowd, and Estévez says the team recognizes that. “It’s not just about inviting people; it’s not just about inviting women and Black people,” she says. “It’s so that they [women and Black people] have a good experience, so they see other women and Black people and are not getting mansplained to or getting microaggressions.”

That is a tricky balance. On the one hand, maintaining an invite-only community of like-minded

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