I don’t know what you think, but I think coffee drinkers are some of the coolest people in the world. It was only a matter of time before someone put together an app for smart phones that would connect caffeinated drinkers with others. The name of that app is Coffee Connect and today, I was lucky enough to interrogate Luba Tolkachyov, one of the co-founders of this app.
What’s your position/title/relation to Coffee Connect
I am the co-founder of CoffeeConnect, a location based mobile phone application that connects people near each other over coffee. Simple, easy and approachable way to meet likeminded people.
Where did the idea come from?
The idea for CoffeeConnect was born from personal need, as most ideas are. I consider myself to be a very social person who is used to having tons of friends and family around and always excited to meet new people. However, when I moved to London for my graduate work I found myself in a big city without any one to call a friend. It was really quite depressing. As a remedy for my loneliness I reached out to people in my network and asked if there was anyone in London they could introduce me to. What came next was a series of phone calls/emails to complete strangers asking them to meet me for a coffee; I referred to these as ‘friend dates’. Some good, some bad and some who just didn’t show up J At that point I knew there had to be a better way to meet people.
Fast forward to NYC 2011, I co-founded Findr Interactive, a digital think tank and creative agency. This was also the time that mobile phone platforms were starting to support location-based initiatives. One application that was gaining fast attention, specifically in the gay community, was Grindr. A number of folks on our team were Grindr users and we brainstormed with them to see how we could scale this new technology for general market purposes.
So we sat down to address the challenge of how to create a location based mobile phone application that would appeal to the general market, whether for networking, dating or simply those new in town looking for ways to meet new people . We knew that we had to make the platform that was simply an extension of what people around the world are used to doing. After many ideas, we boiled it down to the common denominator of coffee, or meeting over coffee to be exact. How many times have you uttered the phrase, “let’s meet for coffee?” I am willing to bet many. Coffee is fast, easy, approachable and most importantly its safe, which we knew would be a big touch point for many females using CoffeeConnect. Coffee shops are public places where many gather to work, think and connect— this is a perfect setting for meeting new people.
We also thought it would be really cool to finally know what others in the local coffee shops are working on! I spend a lot of time working out of cafes and often wonder what those around me are working on but I rarely ever ask. With CoffeeConnect users can see who is nearby and interested in sharing a coffee and a conversation. Users can also see who is checked in to local cafés and what they are doing/working on. We know that by providing a platform for conversation new opportunities and collaborations will be born.
What’s in store for the future? More devices and locations? Any other coffee apps in the works?
As for the future, there are lots of exciting developments that we are brewing up. For one, we are planning to launch the ‘Don’t Drink Alone’ project throughout a number of local coffee shops where we will set up the ‘Don’t Drink Alone’ tables so that anyone who decides to sit at this table will be engaged in a conversation and given a chance to meet other café guests. We feel that there is a huge opportunity to connect like minded people in local café’s, especially in urban areas where many people are new and looking to make connections.
We will also be doing some pretty exciting things to celebrate National Coffee Day on September 29th, so make sure to download CoffeeConnect to stay in the loop.
That’s it. That’s the story of CoffeeConnect. A simple, fast and approachable way to meet those around you over a cup of coffee. Coffee has been connecting people for centuries, we are just giving it a boost with today’s technology.
We hope you like it and encourage you to download the application on the App Store by searching ‘CoffeeConnect’ or at the following link. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/coffeeconnect-coco/id528765789?ls=1&mt=8.
Thanks to Luba for taking the time to answer my questions!