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An interview with Dan Ware, founder of beFriend

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by Startacus Admin

Startacus member Dan Ware reckons he is onto a winner with his new “Meet People...Make Friends” app beFriend . It’s a friend discovery Dan Ware beFriendapp one might say. We touched base with Dan to find out more about the concept, the problem, and his plans for the future, asking a few friendly questions along the way...

So this is a new way of connecting with people - is the idea that you can make new friends that share specific interests or hobbies that maybe your usual circle of friend might not be into?

Yes, that is one element to beFriend. I’ve found that, as I get older, the opportunity to meet new people on a social level decreases. You find yourself hanging out with the same people socially, with the odd new person joining that social circle every now and again. So when you fancy trying out something new, although you may have a large pool of people, with work and family commitments being what they are, your friends may not have time or ability to try new things out. That’s where beFriend comes in. The app connects you with like-minded people that want to try the same things as you. It’s a really interesting step forward for the digital/offline social interaction movement, which has proved so successful for online dating.

The other interesting position of beFriend is for people that move to a new town or city, or are on a work placement for a period of time. So say you have been relocated from Manchester to Bournemouth for work, chances are you will only know people from your workplace. Building meaningful social interactions with work colleagues takes time. So beFriend gives the person the opportunity to set up a game of golf or a game of tennis or even just someone to go for a drink with. beFriend is online dating, but activity and friend specific. A surprisingly niche concept.

How else does this app differ from other friend sharing apps?

The focus of beFriend is activity first, person second. It’s all about finding someone to do an activity with. So it moves the getting to know the person in detail, offline. You’re not finding someone to date, you’re looking for an activity partner. So why not find someone that wants to do that activity, do the whole pre-amble to make sure you are like-minded, but actually get to know that person while doing the activity. This makes beFriend very unique in comparison to other friend sharing apps that focus too much on the building of the friendship online.

Where did the idea initially come from?

I was over in Dubai on holiday. Although I travel to Dubai on a semi-regular beFriendbasis, it is a very transient city. So all of the people I had met were either at work or had moved on. I really wanted a game of tennis, but I had no one to play with. So I thought how could I solve that issue for myself in future and beFriend was born. I didn’t get my game of tennis, but I got the idea for a cool app. Swings and roundabouts.

Are you worried others might copy this idea?

I’m a great believer that imitation is the highest form of flattery. I’m also a great believer that the cream always rises to the top. You look at Facebook, Amazon, Google and Ebay. Market leaders because they have the best product and the best brand. That is what we are trying to create with beFriend.

How do you see beFriend developing in the next 6 months to a year?

Its difficult to say. I believe strongly in the core idea of beFriend as a social interaction tool. But it will be interesting to see how our early adopters and brand advocates help us move the product forward. We’ve already made at least 20 changes to the app based on user feedback, with another 15 to come in the next iteration.

Focus on the user and all else will follow. Product development 101.

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Published on: 5th May 2014

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