By Sydney Shaw
Look out, Tinder. Friendsy, a new networking app, has permeated the College’s social sphere by targeting one of the biggest communities on campus: Greek Life.
When Princeton University alumnus Vaidhy Murti (’15) created the app, which launched nationwide in March, he made it exclusive to individuals with .edu email addresses.
“I started Friendsy my sophomore year of college,” Murti told The Signal. “I felt, and still feel, that you’re surrounded by so many people while you’re in college, and a lot of those people you meet by complete random chance… Almost everyone I knew wanted to meet more people, but you kind of get stuck in your social circles and it’s hard to branch out.”
That’s where Friendsy comes into play. Rather than swiping left or right to discard or match with someone, like Tinder, Friendsy users can select whether they want to friend, date or hook up with a fellow college student. If that student selects the same option(s) when your profile pops up, you match.
Users can filter profiles by gender, school, year, major or group. The app also offers a “hint” feature. For example, a user might be notified, “A girl from your school in the class of 2017 wants to go on a date with you.”
Murti has some creative initiatives up his sleeve to promote the app and increase its user base among college students, many of which include appealing to fraternities and sororities.
Shayna, a Friendsy user from the College and a member of Greek Life, said her sorority encouraged her to download the new app.
“Sadly I had to sign up for my sorority,” she wrote in a Friendsy message to Austin Merritt, a junior interactive multimedia major. “Apparently we get money towards our philanthropy, which makes no sense at all.”
It makes sense to Murti, though. The idea is that by adding incentive for members of Greek Life to download the app, the rest of the campus will follow suit.
“At TCNJ, we’ve done a few tabling events, giveaways, we sponsored a (fraternity’s) Halloween party so people on the list didn’t need pay a cover,” Murti said. “We’ve partnered with several organizations on campus to help them raise money for their philanthropy in exchange for helping us to promote the app.”
The Friendsy team also works to promote the app through the news media.
On Halloween night, a BuzzFeed community post — posts that have not been vetted or endorsed by BuzzFeed’s editorial staff — emerged titled “11 Signs Your Night Was Trash At TCNJ.”
https://t.co/k1NHTQuzld lmfaoooo #11
— Cristina Rodriguez (@cristinarod7) November 1, 2016
No. 6 on the list reads, “All your Friendsy mutuals are going to the same party as you, so you have to play all of them.” At the bottom of the post, there is a photo of the Friendsy logo beneath the text, “Friendsy is a social network helping college students expand their circles!”
The post was penned by Betsy Studholme, Friendsy’s Social Media manager.
“We’re a team of 10 people — three of us have graduated college, seven are still in college — and our skill sets cover a wide range, from being able to build products to being able to market and promote them,” Murti said. “We’re a super close-knit team working day and night to bring our vision for Friendsy to life and connect as many college students as we can.”
According to Murti, Friendsy team members are compensated for their work. The company raised a seed round of venture capital last year.
“Outside investors have invested in our company — they’ve bought a certain percentage of our company in exchange for funding,” he said. “Venture capital firms usually invest in early-stage startups that they believe have a really high trajectory for growth.”
For the Friendsy team, though, Murti said it’s not about the money.
“Everyone on the team is compensated, but that’s not the driving force behind why they work so hard,” he said. “We all really believe in and love what we do.”