When I last covered Hyphos, CEO Alex Capecelatro explained the goal of his team’s new, LA-based social discovery site:
“Our social networks are built around the people we know; they don’t help us expand our local social network…. Hyphos should make it easier to meet new people outside your Facebook friends’ networks.”
And it did, for the most part, but growth was sluggish, so the Hyphos team decided to rebrand as At The Pool for 3 reasons:
1. The old site was essentially a destination site that people had to come to if they wanted to meet like-minded people nearby. “We realized we were asking people to submit the same content they were submitting on Facebook, forums, etc., so we moved away from content to focus on people.”
At The Pool is a big profile site of the people you might want to meet based on shared interests. Those shared interests – like biking, hiking, food, etc. – are pools. The interests don’t have to be activity-based, though. Capecelatro said companies are creating pools for their employees who are scattered among buildings and various locations.
2. Return and engagement rates on Hyphos were low. “People liked to interact with the site, but they didn’t always come back, so we changed our communication model. Now you get pinged once a day – instead of a deal-a-day, you get a person-a-day.”
3. Startups get really creative with their names – sometimes too creative. “The name Hyphos was a challenge. It was short and new, but it didn’t bring up any imagery and was quickly forgotten. At The Pool evokes better emotions and is social.
“With the new name, it’s also easier to put together really fun and creative messaging and visuals – we use pictures of pools, talk about pool parties, use fun terms like “dive on in,” etc.”
At The Pool tested out their new concept at the University of Connecticut right before school ended this past spring. Even though it was just in beta, the site quickly grew to 1500 people and “started getting hit up by all sorts of people – nonprofits, chamber of commerce, corporations.”
I have tried out the new site, and it is great – I am getting lots of relevant introductions based on my interests. If you want to try it out yourself, At The Pool opens publicly today. Tech Cocktail readers get a special invitation code – just use “techcocktail” to dive in immediately (sorry, couldn’t resist!).