How Meet Around helps find like-minded strangers
Can't find someone in your neighbourhood who shares the same eclectic tastes as yours? Would like to organise a jam session on the weekend but can't cobble up a team? Taking German classes but can't find anyone to converse with?
Well, it's time to check out Meet Around.
The website, which positions itself as an interest-based social network, helps members connect with people with similar interests and also allows them to attend hangouts and meetings together. Meet Around is available on the web and as a web application.
"What we do realise is that people are hesitant about one-on-one meetings and prefer to meet in a group. It's going to take some time for strangers to be open to meeting one-to-one, but I think it's the right time to enter this segment," says Ajitesh Kaicker, co-founder, Meet Around.
How it works
Meet Around requires users to sign in using their Facebook profiles. Users can select from over 100 interest areas which include something as mundane as gardening and dog playgroups to esoteric ones such as geek culture and transcendental meditation.
The user can then see a curated list of people with similar interests on his feed and also the local hangouts after selecting the desired location.
As of now, the platform allows a user to follow people with similar interests and also track the places where these people hangout. The platform will also be launching a messaging feature which will allow users to message each other after they have followed each other. Meet Around has various algorithms running in the background which help curate a feed for both people discovery and hangout discovery.
Business model and traction
Meet Around's immediate focus is to build the network and get a critical mass of people on the platform. It does not plan to charge any fees for signing up on the platform. However, it is working on two revenue models which it plans to introduce later. The primary source of revenue would be contextual ads and sponsored posts on the platform, says Kaicker. It is also looking to drive revenues through tie-ups with businesses such as restaurants and bars where such meetings would take place. Kaicker says it could look at charging a commission on table reservations or events held at such places.
Meet Around currently has around 10,000 users on its platform and claims it is attracting 700-800 users daily on its platform. "Many of our users keep coming back to see what is happening in their interest group," says Kaicker. The startup is currently focusing on three major cities â€“ Mumbai, Bangalore and New Delhi â€“ but there is no bar on users from other cities signing up. "It is very important for us to get good traction in these cities so that it creates a network-like effect," he adds.
The platform was founded by Ajitesh Kaicker and Akshay Janbandhu in May 2016. Kaicker, an alumnus of Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology, Delhi (NSIT), was previously a growth hacker at Ibibo Ryde and has earlier worked on mobile product and marketing for Ibibo Group. He has also worked with Round One, a job referral platform, as a product associate.
Janbandhu is an IIT-Delhi alumnus and has four years of work experience in the internet space. He was earlier heading the technology division at Round One, and has also worked as a software developer with Jabong.
Meet Around will compete with Mumbai-based Unlaze which is backed by entrepreneur-turned-investor Sujal Shah and actor Dino Morea, as well as San Francisco and Bangalore-based Affimity which raised $1.2 million in February 2016. Chennai-based Brigge is another competitor.
Meet Around aims to get 100,000 users by the end of 2016 and 200,000 users by May 2017. It also plans to expand to two other cities including Pune and Hyderabad. It is looking to raise $200,000 in funding in the next two months and is in talks with angel investors and venture capital firms. The startup also aims to launch an Android app by December 2016.
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