August 24, 2011
Bromance, a location-based social app for “bros” to meet and schedule hangouts, beta launched today on iPhone and Android in Chicago, New York, and San Francisco.
Wrapping my female brain around Bromance was a trip into the male psyche, but luckily cofounder Jeffrey Canty was there to help. He started by convincing me that making friends is a problem for straight men. “It’s kind of an awkward situation for guys to make guy friends. Girls don’t have the same problems that guys do in communicating and meeting new people,” he insisted.
Really? They can’t just say hello to someone at a bookstore or the gym? “I’m not going to be in the gym lifting weights and look over at the guy next to me and say ‘hey, what are you doing later?’” Canty said. “I’ll get my ass kicked or I’ll get a date, and I don’t want either of those.” Okay, I see your point. But what is bromance?
Sharing the name of a short-lived MTV show—they would love a celebrity endorsement from Brody Jenner, Canty adds—bromance is something most girls can understand. “It’s best friendships: a platonic relationship between two straight guys…yeah…to the point where they almost seem like a couple because they’re just inseparable,” explains Canty.
This relationship begins by creating a short “brofile” for other users to browse. An activity feed lists nearby events, which can be filtered to include just your connections, or “bros.” You might find a pickup game of basketball or some guys grabbing drinks at a local bar.
“I doubt anybody will, but you could crochet with Bromance if enough people are interested in it,” says Canty, chuckling. Speaking of which, girls can be bros, he assures me; I could host a double kegger myself (sorry, Jeffrey, not happening).
Perhaps bromance is something like the camaraderie among Bromance’s four male team members. Canty began work on the startup with Brayden Wilmoth, a friend he met online who has spearheaded Android development. They soon recruited Jordan Perry, one of Wilmoth’s good friends, to create the iPhone app, and Nic Stauber to do graphic design.
To solidify the male bonding, Bromance includes two other things guys love: competing and making money. In the “fist pump” section of the app, users check in to hangouts and earn “swag” points—and see who’s topping the leader board. “Gentlemen tend to be very competitive,” Canty explains (I had no idea). In two or three weeks, the app will allow users to charge money for hangouts to cover costs like supplies or beer, with Bromance taking a small cut.
While Bromance is clearly about the fun, it—like good men—has a serious side. Canty was partly inspired by his own experience: he had endured a breakup, a death in the family, and a move to a new city, and he found himself ten pounds over his target weight but without a workout buddy to motivate him.
If the launch doesn’t keep him in the office 24/7, he may just show up at your next Bromance hangout.
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