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Causr - the location-based app connecting people on the go
by Startacus Admin
Serial entrepreneur and self-starter James Eder is back with new App Causr that aims to connect you to the people & the opportunities that you may have otherwise missed...
In 2005 James Eder and his brother Mike launched studentbeans.com a platform that over only a couple of years scaled across the UK to reach millions of students, becoming arguably the nation’s top and largest website for the student and graduate market.
The Beans Group Ltd was quickly incorporated to house Student Beans and to incubate a number of other 'bean' based ventures. Whilst the business goes from strength to strength James as ever the entrepreneur decided to take the plunge and start again with a new team.
James latest business venture, Causr, a location based app that connects professionals on the go, went live on the App store in the later part of 2016.
As founder and chief collison creator at Causr we were keen to speak to self-starter James about Causr, the problem they are trying to solve with the app, the target audience the app is aimed at, and what’s next for the app that aims to connect people with similar passions & interests together.
Hey James, nice to chat, let's start with a simple one - what key problem are you trying to solve with Causr?
Helping people connect with each other more easily. It’s best framed with a story, not long ago I was sitting on the Underground in London when someone came and sat in the seat next to me. They were clutching their CV, so I asked them where they’d been and what they were looking for. A few weeks later, we were sat together again, this time in the office of my his time in the office of my first established company, Student Beans.
Sometime later, I needed to speak to a specific person from a company. I left the office, was standing on the platform in Golders Green, North London and happened to meet the exact person I needed to meet. I’d simply asked them if our train was coming soon, and it went from there.
These chance encounters made a real impact on my working life and it got me thinking about the other opportunities I and other people must’ve missed over the years, and continue to miss everyday.
There are 3 core pillars that Causr is built on that stops us connecting and speaking to people in these scenarios. Firstly people don’t feel like they’ve got the permission, secondly the confidence and thirdly the context to connect. By seeing the CV that gave me the context to break the ice and start the conversation.
Some people have said we’re manufacturing serendipity. Causr is here to help create connections that would otherwise be missed.
How is Causr aiming to be better than traditional business networking platforms such as LinkedIn?
Better is an interesting term - I think they each serve their purpose. We actually use Linkedin as a partner and to create an account on Causr you need to use your Linkedin Login. The way we differential ourselves is that Causr is a technology platform that enables people to connect face to face vrs being another social platform where most of the interaction takes place either with people who already know each other or the connection is also primarily maintained online. So for example if I’m waiting somewhere and have a meeting canel - you can go on Causr, see who’s near by and connect in real time.
Since you launched Causr, what have been the biggest lessons you've learnt so far in launching a new App to market?
There’s so much noise drawing people’s attention. It’s important to let people know how to use the App and where we fit in the market. An example is that we are speaking to a number of community organisations arranging meetups. One of the ideas behind Causr is that we can help people connect before, during & after events. A lot of organisers have come back and said they have a Facebook group which is enough. Unlike other social platforms organisations don’t need to constantly post or update their group on Causr - it is simply a platform enabling their community to connect with each other face to face in real time.
The other big learning is the importance of getting something shipped and out there is better than asking what people want and assuming how people will use it. Whilst it’s just the beginning it’s great to see Causr in people’s hands and the feedback loop we’re getting from our users.
In terms of marketing Causr - have you been focusing on reaching audience in any particular countries?
As we’re London based there has been a natural focus here but there are pockets of people in Australia and New Zealand that are starting to pick up. It’s early days. One of the major focuses we’re working on partnership with organisations and communities that have people who are regularly travelling. There’s a huge amount of value we can create so hopeful to announce a number of these over the coming months. If you’re reading this and have got a community your interested in helping connect - feel free to be in touch.
What stage are you at currently with Causr and how are you currently measuring it's success?
The vision for Causr is to create millions of meaningful connections for people nearby, all around the world, everyday. We soft launched towards the end of 2016 and already have a few thousand downloads. We’ve designed it in a way that you can only see the nearest 300 people. The idea is to facilitate serendipity vrs searching for specific people. Success for us is the number of people, connecting, chatting to each other within the App and ultimately meeting.
Any early networking success stories you can accredit to Causr?
Yes, it’s great to hear about the successes that have already come as a result of people using the App. We’ve had people meeting in Miami talking about Solar Panels and renewable Energy. An innovation agency meeting and insurance company. The biggest commercial opportunity we’ve heard so far was a £500,000 deal from one of our users.
"I discovered Causr while on Linkedin, it caught my attention and I'm delighted that I signed up. I was working from home one day and thought I would give it a go. The first person I came across was about in the same area as me. I thought I'd test things further and made initial contact and to my surprise got a friendly reply back. We were both working at home by coincidence on that day and we decided that we had a lot in common: my companies provide hiring, Mark needed hiring services and some advice. Amazingly, we met later that day near to where we live. The upshot: Mark's division is fully staffed, we have a new account worth £500k and.. we are friends and he's even coming to my wedding! Business 'connections do not come better' - you couldn't make it up! Causr is the missing link in terms of the relevance of linkedin and in my view, makes those 'links' real." James Davies | CEO - WalkerDavies.com
What's next for Causr - any partnerships, updates, or plans you can share with Startacus?
Since launching it’s been a busy few months and we’ve got a huge amount in the pipeline from speaking to Airlines and Airports about how we can help there customers connect through to communities & conferences. 80% of our test users on our WebApp were on iOS so we launched iOS first - later this year we hope to be on Android - you can pre-register here http://community.causr.co/android. We’re looking to grow the team and close a Seed round of funding to develop out the product and scale.
Cheers James and we wish you and the Causr team all the best for the rest of 2017.