In a world which is becoming increasingly digitalized, it has, strangely enough, not become much easier for individuals to meet like-minded people in their area. Instead, one can only hope to meet the right people by, for instance, joining an association, a sports team, or engaging in other activities. This costs a lot of time and effort, without any guarantee for success. Moreover, localized social apps have thus far not offered the solution for this problem, as these are mostly geared towards dating. GroupFinder was developed to correct this shortcoming.
Using our meetup app, users can select an activity to be matched with a group of other users who are interested in the same activity and fit the search criteria. The group-chat which ensues allows users to get to know each other better before deciding to actually meet up. Furthermore, this group aspect eliminates the dating element, as it fosters an environment of friendly relations and gives the group the ability to block users if they do not act accordingly. As a result, GroupFinder offers an accessible tool for individuals to find like-minded people in their area, get to know them better, and meet up.
The idea for this app based on group matching can be traced back to early 2016, when one of the founders was facing an imminent move to a new city, and asked himself how he would go about building a new network. As a soon to be young professional, making new friends in a new city while juggling a full-time job was probably going to be quite a challenge. Sure, he would be able to socialize with colleagues, but what about social connections outside of work? Meeting new like-minded people was probably not going to be easy. With this upcoming struggle in sight, this founder decided to approach his nephew, who had some experience with building apps. With that, a co-founder was found who shared the enthusiasm for tackling this problem.
The original idea for the app had nothing to do with group matching. It was only after numerous brainstorm sessions, and increased insight into the other social meetup apps available in the Play Store, that we decided to make the pivot to an app based on group dynamics. The idea behind this choice was two-fold. First of all, matching users in groups leaves little room for the outright dating element. In this sense, the other group members in the chat provide a natural barrier to this by fulfilling a sort of social oversight function. Put simply, our hypothesis was that people are less likely to use the meetup app for dating purposes if they’re put in a group chat.
The second reason behind opting for a group matching system was accessibility. By matching people in a group rather than individually, and based on a chosen activity, GroupFinder provides a playful framework to get to know each other in a group setting. Moreover, in a group context, there is more scope to get to know each other better. Imagine, for instance, that you do not immediately hit it off with a few of the group members, but the others seem very nice. By staying engaged in the chat for the sake of the others, you might also start to like the other group members as you get to know them better. This also works the other way around. Basically, the premise underlying this reasoning is that people will be less quick to judge others in a group context. As with all other things in life, you don’t get to choose your group members, but you can learn to like them. Who knows, you might end up making some quite unexpected friendships.
For us, the founders of GroupFinder, the goal has always been to make it easy for people to make new friends, or at least stay connected socially. Using our meetup app as a tool, social interaction can be only a few taps away. As a result, by decreasing the time and effort it usually takes to meet new like-minded people, a busy life will stop being an obstacle for staying engaged socially. In the ideal GroupFinder world, loneliness will be a thing of the past.