Forget group texts: Brunch makes it easier to meet up for drinks

Written by Sam Dewey
Published on Sep. 28, 2015
Forget group texts: Brunch makes it easier to meet up for drinks

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“Social discovery — that is, finding out what your friends are up to — is really, really hard.”

At least, that’s how Todd O’Hara sees it. And O’Hara’s new social messaging app, Brunch, wants to change that.

Group texts? Too invasive. Facebook? Too exposed. With Brunch — a message board for posting plans that are only visible to nearby friends — users can more easily make plans with friends, acquaintances, and former colleagues.

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“There are hundreds of millions of missed connections everyday, but there’s still no medium to allow us to share that information,” O’Hara said (pictured left).

It works like this: users can post what they’re up to (and where), and that message pops up to any of the user's nearby friends. Those friends can then respond to that post, initiating or contributing to the conversation to set up firm plans.

Brunch’s marketing efforts have remained hyper local, and O’Hara said that focus has been intentional.

“A million individuals downloading our app is not a great scenario for us, because we’re going to have a million unhappy people,” he said. “What we need instead is 10,000 highly-connected people in one dense geographic region that can really extract value out of it.”

Those initial users are indeed well-connected. The app’s seed round of funding was raised from smaller checks given by 30 of some of Chicago’s heavyweight tech players, including Belly CTO Craig Ulliott, Wintrust Ventures’ Bailey Moor, and Techweek's Chris Bourdeaux, among others.

In addition to their varying investments, those 30 influencers have also been named founding members, who in part are tasked with accelerating the popularity and overall presence of Brunch in Chicago.

O’Hara is working with cofounder Ravi Singh and a small team of remote contracted developers to get things rolling.

His former startup, Toodalu — which was one of the first companies housed within 1871, and the first to leave it —  was acquired by Spring Rewards in 2013.

Brunch is currently available in the Apple app store, and O’Hara said they plan on releasing an Android version soon.

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