Chicago Interviews

Brunch: A message board for friends


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What is Brunch?

We’ve all been there. You find yourself downtown after work and want to know if any friends are up for getting together for dinner. But how do you do it? Do you text 10 people in a row? Do you post a question to Facebook? Neither one are really ideal. Texting limits the outcome because we generally only text our closest friends. And of course we don’t post it to Facebook – it’s not a message that needs to reach friends who might be on the other side of the world. Brunch is a better way — a message board for nearby friends.

Who is your target user?

Anyone with friends is perfect for Brunch!

Why did you build Brunch? What problem are you taking on?

Because texting 30 people to plan brunch sucks.

How is Brunch different from what is currently available?

We are the first proximity-based message board – a much better way to connect with friends and plan get-togethers.

Tell us your founding story. Was there an “ah ha” moment?

Texting and group texting is problematic when used to ask friends ‘What are you up to for lunch?’ or ‘Who’s free for a drink tonight?’ Texting is inherently intimate and intrusive, so we tend to only text the 4-5 friends we feel comfortable with. That means we end up missing out on lots of fun stuff because we naturally limit our audience.

And if you are on the receiving end of a large group text, you often don’t know who the others are in the conversation and the endless response texts can be maddening. And to add to it all, these conversation are only useful when you are actually in town.

Brunch is designed to be a better way to connect. When you post a message on the app’s status board, it is visible only to your nearby friends. Those friends can comment on it, with every conversation automatically deleted after eight hours. Even if you don’t add to the discussion, you can see what your nearby friends are up to and add or remove friends at any time.

Tell us about your founding team and their backgrounds.

Brunch was cofounded by technology entrepreneurs Todd O’Hara and Ravi Singh, whose prior startup, loyalty app Toodalu, was acquired by Spring Rewards in 2013.

Where can people find out more?