Chennai: Prasanna Jagannathan is an avid biker and golfer; Sampath Jaganathan loves to run while Murali Satagopan is a sportsman. Often, neither of them could find the right people to share their hobbies with.
“We never found company when we felt like doing things," said Satagopan, “That is how Brigge came about."
Brigge (pronounced ‘bridge’) is a social network for activities founded by the three young men, and helps bring people who share similar interests together. And unlike many other social applications, the interactions don’t just stop in the virtual space.
“Unlike most other social networking portals that keep the user hooked to the application, Brigge intends to get people out and bring back real-world interactions," explained Satagopan.
Getting onto Brigge is simple, said Satagopan, “The app can be downloaded anywhere in India and it takes only 60 seconds to create an activity that other like-minded people can participate in."
According to him, the application has seen 783 downloads and 4,366 sessions since its launch in mid-September on the Google Play Store. Its current rating is 4.7 and users have spent 437 hours on it and created 95 activities since it went live, he added.
Activities can be anything—a play or a movie screening, a special Sunday run on Marina Beach, a walk through the temples of Mylapore or the bylanes of Sowcarpet, an art show in a gallery or at a public space.
“People have really adopted this new idea and there are already several groups creating activities in this space," said Satagopan, adding that there will be an iOS and web version too within a month.
Brigge Technologies Pvt. Ltd, the company behind the social network, has been funded by The Chennai Angels (TCA), a consortium that aims to help and support budding entrepreneurs. The investors have committed ₹ 1 crore in two tranches.
Though TCA normally invests in later-stage enterprises, it is making an exception in this case because “it (Brigge) is a novel idea that has the potential to become a unicorn," said Ranjeet Rathod, a director in construction firm DRA Projects and an active member of TCA. “India is one of the biggest participants in the social media space but till now, we have never been creators," he added.
Padma Priya Bhaskaran, a heritage blogger, said she has benefited by using the app. “I conduct heritage events, most of which are free, and want to reach out to as many people as possible. I have conducted three events since getting on this app and I have noticed an increase in the number of participants."
While she admits that she continues to use Facebook to communicate, the app has an advantage because “on Facebook, I tend to post on individual groups dedicated to a particular event. Here I can post in a common repository and anyone interested in heritage in general will be aware of what is happening".
Rathod agreed. “Facebook has become too crowded," he said. “Here we concentrate on just one aspect of Facebook—leisure."