Forget Facebook; Make Activity-Based Plans on FunPlusOne

May 3, 2012

5:00 pm

Whether you’re single, in a relationship, or married, it can be hard to find someone to do activities with.  If you’re a big opera fan but none of your friends are, or you want to try archery but your spouse balks at the idea, you can get stuck in a rut, not doing favorite activities or trying new ones.

Until now, there was really no easy way to find a fellow opera goer outside your network.  Just launched in beta, is the first-of-its-kind social platform centered around activity-based connections.  You can post an activity (“Anyone care to join me for an upcoming performance of La Nozze di Figaro?”) and find a plus one to join you (“Why yes I would – that’s my favorite opera!”).

I caught up with co-founder Jay Chahil, whose other startup LunchMix I covered previously, to learn why he’d take on 2 startups at once, why FunPlusOne is better than Facebook, and the challenges in getting people to use his platform.

Tech Cocktail: So, you are not busy enough with LunchMix?

Jay Chahil: [Laughing] We are having some success with LunchMix – we are integrating new features – but I want to keep my options open.  I was appraoched with [FunPlusOne] last year at a friend’s birthday party in NYC and joined it.  We are kicking it out in beta to see what people think…and focusing on getting enough user feedback to make it what people want.  We are giving away $5 Starbucks gift cards to people who are testing it out and giving us feedback.

Tech Cocktail: Who’s your co-founder?

Chahil: Sharad Daswani.  He founded a long time ago and successfully exited out of it – it was like a precursor to Evite.  Teaming up with someone who has that kind of experience behind them was a no-brainer.

Tech Cocktail: How is FunPlusOne better than, say, posting a message on Facebook to all of your friends?

Chahil: Great question. On Facebook, it is hard to keep track of who replied to your activity invitation and who is interested.  So this system allows you to post it publicly or keep it exclusive to just your friends and see who has shown interest and who is participating.  When someone confirms, they are a plus one.

Tech Cocktail: Do you feel like it’s an uphill battle getting people off Facebook and onto FunPlusOne?

Chahil: Kind of, but we are also using Facebook and integrating it with our platform.  You can invite your friends from Facebook, and eventually we are going to create a Facebook app.

The reason we wanted to create our own platform is, in the beginning, we were thinking about partnering with vendors to see if we could sell a pair of tickets to go to someone’s establishment – say, movie tickets.  We would post that as an activity and you could buy it and ask someone to join you.  We really wanted to be able to create exclusive offers – we are still working on that.  The first step, though, is the user-created activities and building up a healthy user base and perfecting the platform.

If you’d like to help out the team, they invite you to try it out and test its functionality. They’re particularly interested in your thoughts, so feel free to email the team directly at [email protected]

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Monika Jansen is a writer and editor who is happiest pounding out blog posts, newsletters, website content, and other materials. Follow her at: @monikacjansen

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