Interview: uberlife Launches to Turn Online Connections into Real World FriendsBy: Abby Johnson - March 8, 2012
With SXSW starting tomorrow, many startups are launching in hopes of becoming the next Twitter or Foursquare. One of the startups that shares this dream is UK-based uberlife. The company launched in the UK in January and launched its U.S. version earlier this week.
According to Sanchita Saha, the startup’s CEO and Founder, uberlife is a social discovery service that helps users extend their online connections into the real world. She explained that it is designed to save the back and forth conversations that consumers often have when simply trying to meet up.
Have you jumped onto the social discovery service bandwagon? Let us know.
Users can sign up for the service through Facebook or Twitter and can create “hangouts” around where they intend to be. The hangouts are similar to Google+‘s online video feature, but they are different since they are for offline events. At this point, hangouts are open to the public, but Saha indicated that the company would be introducing other privacy options in the near future.
The startup has also been likened to services such as Banjo and Glancee, but Saha told us that the distinction between them was based in the focus of the services. Uberlife focuses on real world events or hangout spots, whereas the others concentrate on people discovery.
“At uberlife, we’re very much focused on real world relationship building and the value in the real world of connecting people,” said Saha.
The service also includes an internal scoring platform called Connector Score that is somewhat comparable to Klout. Users earn this score when people who meet at their hangout begin following each other in uberlife.
“The Connector Score, for us, is a real indicator of which members of our community are the movers and shakers,” said Saha.
She went on to say that the startup would be launching a global leader board in the next few weeks that would enable everyone to see who the big influencers are.
According to Saha, uberlife takes location sharing to an entirely different level. Even though TechCrunch labeled it as “the next Foursquare, but for future real-world meetups,” she does not believe the two are competitors. In fact, uberlife plans to integrate with Foursquare in its next product roll out.
Saha told us the startup decided to launch around SXSW since the show is full of early adopters and passionate people looking to try new developments. The hope is that attendees that want to meet new people and “hang out” will use the service to do so.
“Any social app that’s worth knowing from Twitter to Foursquare… [and] GroupMe, Beluga last year – SXSW is definitely the place to be,” she pointed out.
The startup is already gaining some traction as artists such as Gabriel & Dresden and Shiny Toy Guns are using it to connect with fans at SXSW. In addition, Saha told us that various brands are using it as well to help build relationships with their customers. She said that companies are also finding that uberlife is useful in connecting customers with each other, which helps to build community efforts.
Uberlife plans to build a revenue model utilizing the influencers from the upcoming global leader board. Saha said that the company is working to create a platform that would connect small to medium-sized businesses to the influencers.
Do you think uberlife has the potential to be the next hot startup? Please share your thoughts in the comments.