This morning, SocialRadar released its long-anticipated mobile app for iOS. SocialRadar is a DC-based startup led by Michael Chasen, which raised a $12.75 million Series A round last June.
Utilizing social networks with geo-location data (including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and Google+), the SocialRadar app enables users to discover whether someone within their network is nearby and provides information on how you're connected and whether you have any shared interests.
“[SocialRadar] is something that will fundamentally change the way [people] meet and connect in the real world,” said CEO and founder Michael Chasen. “We believe that if you walk into a room, there should be a way to let you know that there are people there that you know or friends of people you know. Whether you'll use it to find dates or as a networking tool or for hanging out – it's up to you…we're offering something that's never been available before.”
While location-based social discovery isn't a new concept (think Highlight or Sonar), Chasen claims that SocialRadar offers something that other apps in this market have failed to provide: real-time updates on only the people most relevant to you and people with whom you would have an interest in interacting based on your current network (whether that be work colleagues, college buddies, or friends of friends). With this focus in mind, people of minute relevance and randos don't even show up. “Unlike [previous attempts at location-based people discovery], the user experience is customized and personalized per user,” said co-founder and CMO Kevin Alansky.
I think SocialRadar is going to be extremely valuable as an overall networking tool. I mean, at most networking events, I find myself awkwardly coddling my beer/moonshine/existence in the corner of the bar/room/universe, praying to Jay-Zus that none of those strangers will accost me (and I'm surely not the only person with these sentiments). With SocialRadar, a user can discover whether there's someone in the room who's friends with their college freshman R.A. and shares their proclivity for cheese; SocialRadar will really simplify the whole process of meeting someone in real life.
But, of course, with any new social networking tool or app, the issue of privacy is always a concern. Indeed both Chasen and Alansky agree that respecting users' privacy is a top priority for SocialRadar. “Privacy is important to us and has been a key component throughout development,” said Chasen. I myself have tried the app, and while there are no guarantees that privacy issues won't occur, the company has definitely made a concerted effort to simplify the user's management of sharing information.
The company is still developing its Android app, as well as an app for Google Glass. Although both Chasen and Alansky are still unsure of whether the public will adopt SocialRadar en masse, they agree that the capabilities provided by the app are things that we should expect to see as standard features in future smartphones (much like mapping technology via Apple Maps is a standard feature of the iPhone). In whatever case, the company certainly has no plans of going away anytime soon.
SocialRadar is now available for download on iTunes. Learn more about the company on their website.