The next time you feel like your friend group is holding you back and you need to get out and meet new people, don’t turn to messaging apps, try to actually meet new people face to face. Seeco is the app that helps meeting people face to face a reality. Looking at what users are doing on a real time map, you can communicate with other users and meet up with now or at a later date. The app understands the social climate of NYC and it is attempting to break New Yorkers out of their shells.
Today we sit down with cofounder and CFO Allan Reis to discuss modern day socializing in NYC and how Seeco is looking to make it even more vibrant.
Tell us about the product or service.
The definition is actually two-fold:
For users, it is a map-centric platform to create or join in real-time get-togethers throughout the city in public venues. It makes company seeking for actual offline social events more natural and less awkward and goes against the tools we have today which basically focus on keeping you online instead of interacting face-to-face.
For businesses, bartenders and servers, it is a marketplace to advertise and promote their low-traffic shifts on a map and offer drink or food specials to customers seeking very specific types of social interaction at the last minute. It is also a tool to obtain real-time foot traffic data about their establishments.
How is it different?
It is the first app that shows you activities on a map as opposed to showing you just the people without any hint of what to do. The human-to-human, face-to-face interaction is more certain when you both have a place and time to meet, and that is what other apps are not concerned about at all today.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
We believe we have an appeal to adult smartphone users in big cities worldwide. There are currently about 1 billion adult mobile users worldwide, of which, an average of 700 million users that are daily active based on calculations of users of Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp and others. We expect a conservative 0.8% of the market to adhere to our user base, shooting for low, which means 8 million people already. We are focusing first on adult smartphone users in New York City, which amounts to 79% of all adults in NYC. We expect to achieve a user base of at least 8% of them, which amounts to about 388,000 users.
What is the business model?
Seeco will become a “freemium” app, and revenue will be based on paid premium subscription, as well as sponsored hangs and sponsored matches (which are regular hangs and suggestions to users that will also work as ads for small local businesses), and we will study the use of occasional text-only notification pop-up ads.
What inspired the business?
Javier, Seeco’s CEO, felt the need for an app that motivated people to interact offline, face to face because he was tired of the endless chatting that we get with other apps, and he thought it was so tiring to market himself with text and pictures before somebody actually decided to meet. It just didn’t make sense to meet in this virtual way; he wanted something more real and genuine. So he made Seeco to introduce a new down-to-earth way of socializing that resembles how people already meet in real life, with a much-needed help from technology.
In a city of 16M people, do people really need an app to make friends?
Absolutely. People still need that icebreaker, especially in big cities where relationships tend to be so much more impersonal than in smaller towns, for example. But Seeco works for people who are seeking friends or just to be “friendly” in order to have company in an unusual situation, such as going to a concert alone, visiting a bar far from home alone, or when you are just visiting or have just moved to a new city.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Our first seed investment; the launch of the Android app; and the development of sponsored features.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
I’ve been in the industry for about 3 and a half years now, but I still hadn’t figured out how much skepticism is involved when you pitch your app. The market is highly saturated now. But even when you are passed that stage, and you successfully sell the idea to a group of people, then you have to make it become a habit for a whole community, which is an even harder task. But fortunately we are very passionate about our concept and it definitely came out of need for a tool like ours. It’s blatant to see how people need to see what’s going on around them, I noticed it myself this past holiday, with lots of my friends seeking last-minute plans and fun time.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
Anyone in the business of unique experiences. We really love those New York-only moments that we often participate, such as Sleep No More, The Accomplice Show, the Painting Lounge, The Box, some crazy speakeasy bars or even marathons at Prospect Park. If the organizers of these events used Seeco to promote each of their nights or days, or people who would go to these events alone used Seeco to find company (to make the experience even more unforgettable), we would feel like we have done good in the world!
Why did you launch in New York?
Because it is our home and where the need for this tool came from. Every activity in this city happens within walk distance and we really believe New Yorkers would benefit from seeing what is going on so close to them and being spontaneous about it. Besides, historically New York has always set precedence for the whole world.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
Caracas Arepa Bar is delicious, the one in Brooklyn, Rockaway or East Village, they are all great.