With more social media apps out there than ever and interconnectivity unseen by any previous generations, one would think that finding a couple of new friends and meeting up for a spontaneous shindig would be an easy task. But, as anyone so sadly knows, this is further from the truth.
Folks are busy; they’ve got jobs, families, things to attend to. It takes lots of time and energy to find people who share one’s interests, beliefs, and, simply put, vibes. In a revealing conversation with its co-founders, TechAcute dives into a new kind of app, MashApp.
The Friend Zone
MashApp, or Mash as tenderly called by founders and co-CEOs Sourish Ghosh and Rob Lanigan, is a revolutionary mobile app with an anticipated launch early this year. Known as “The Friend Zone” on its website, Ghosh and Lanigan shared that the app enables users to “make new friends through in-person meetups and create meetup-focused NFTs.”
Effectively, one creates a tailored profile of sorts on MashApp, swiping right on favorite hobbies, activities, and places of interest. Then, these “mashers” are paired with like-minded individuals — such as fellow cycling enthusiasts, avid gamers, and culinary daredevils — using an advanced algorithm.
“After a match, you can chat with one another and arrange a meetup,” Ghosh and Lanigan collectively explained in a text conversation with TechAcute. “We also provide Mashers an option for real-time meetups with our Mash Map. You can locate other nearby Mashers and directly message those interested in real time meetups.”
They did note that the location feature in MashApp is optional and can be turned off. “Mash works whether you’re a recent grad moving to a new city, an adult looking for new activities, or simply a college student looking to expand his/her social circle, our goal is to find a meetup for everyone,” they said.
Integration of NFTs
While a digital harbinger of friends is all well and good, the real kicker with MashApp — its distinguishing feature — is its integration of NFTs. NFTs are non-fungible tokens, digital assets ranging from humorous gifs to sketch drawings, that are sold on the decentralized web.
MashApp is betting on the growing popularity and recognition of this new wave of the internet, also known as Web3, that hosts NFT platforms as a way to let users creatively capitalize off of their own fun. “We encourage Mashers to capture special meetup moments through our seamless in-app creation of NFTs,” Ghosh and Lanigan explained. “Whether it’s taking a selfie, showcasing your photography skills, or recording a short video, we give you the tools to be creative around capturing real emotions behind meeting new friends.” These NFTs can be kept private, held tight for a future stroll down memory lane. Or, they can be sold on top NFT market OpenSea under the Mash Collection and users can purportedly make some revenue off their rendezvous.
Digital tokens aside, what makes MashApp any different than a hundred other little apps or sites like the existing Facebook Groups program? What’s special about Mash? According to Ghosh and Lanigan, it’s the simplicity of design and the focus of purpose. “The idea for Mash grew from our experience working in NYC right out of college. Both of us worked in banking at JP Morgan, which was marked by the typical long hours. Friend schedules just wouldn’t align… (and) it was near impossible to organize something on the fly at 10pm on a Friday night after work,” they said.
They added “We found that existing apps like Bumble BFF and Meetup.com all had pain points that led to breakdowns in meeting up in person. We knew there had to be a more reliable way to meet people and make new friends.” After studying various platforms and algorithms, the two determined that everything out there was daunting and hard to use. It was too complicated and too time-consuming.
“We needed to create a simplified experience where you can open an app, swipe on an activity, and find someone with mutual interests, all in the span of seconds,” Gosh and Lanigan shared. With MashApp, they say all users have to worry about is simple yes or no choices; “no searching, no filtering, no endless swiping, no screening others based on physical appearances.”
While much of the world is still under the grasp of COVID-19 lockdown procedures, as anyone’s learned these past two years, there is only so much connection a video call or text conversation can bring. “Meeting someone in person involves real emotions,” Ghosh and Lanigan wrote. “We wanted to provide users the ability to capture those emotions, add their own creativity and create NFTs of those meetup moments through Mash.”
Currently operating remotely in Washington, DC and New York City, the developers at MashApp plan to launch the app within a few months in Austin, Texas, a growing tech mecha in the United States. A waitlist for the app is available for interested users.
YouTube: MashApp Explainer Video | A New In-Person Meet-Up App
Photo credit: The images are owned by MashApp and have been provided for press usage.