Pinguin is a new app that lets you chat with people based on your interests. Really into startups? They got a room for you. Like you some programming? Right this way, sir. Like food? They got a room for you. The team, Josh Purvis, Devon Woodruff, Vijay Kumar, and Bryan O’Reilly built the app from he ground up with the needs of the online set in mind.
There are a few of these apps – most recently Shout – but Pinguin is aimed at giving you specific topics of conversation. While these apps always have an empty room problem I saw a few dozen folks in every room I visited. Some rooms, like #podcasts, are empty.
“We set ourselves apart from the other players with the different layers of communities. Within our channels, we allow our users to chat nationally, locally, or in the proximity of a specific event or venue,” said Purvis. “We wanted to give our users the opportunity to connect to a broad community for access to the best information, while also giving them access to the people that share their interests right around the corner. We don’t see Pinguin as just a chat app but an opportunity to build real communities both inside and outside of the app.”
They are completely bootstrapped and built the project without funding. They’re about to open a seed round and the app is available on iOS and Android.
The team considers normal social media to be “thought vomit.”
“Twitter and Facebook didn’t help me much when I moved from middle Missouri to Orlando, to NYC, to SF, and then to LA. There I was in these new cities with no friends or family. All the degrees of connectivity didn’t help,” said Purvis. “I had to find friends and people of interest the old-fashioned way. To walk up and say, ‘Hi, I’m Josh.’”
Now he doesn’t even have to do that. With Pinguin he can meet foodies and programmers and dog lovers worldwide or in his city.
“We believe there’s a gap in the social space because the incumbents simply can’t afford to target in a way that lets people socialize around their interests rather than being tied to the people they know,” he said. And, if this app doesn’t work, they always have the opportunity to build a Club Penguin replacement for older kids.