When social media networks first started, they helped you easily reconnect with old school friends and lost colleagues. But over the years, many believe that social networking has made everyday conversations a lost art. It is to bridge this very gap that Brigge was created. Albeit another app, Brigge works as a social network for activities, aimed at bringing back real-world social interactions.
Brigge is an open platform where anybody can create activities that others can discover and participate in. People have been getting together to go on photo walks, discuss organic farming, jam in the backyard, do social service, play spikeball, watch football matches together, and lots more. Brigge just makes it easier for like-minded people to connect.
The idea of Brigge came to the three co-founders Sampath, Prasanna and Murali, when they found that despite being active people, they were never able to find the right company at the right time to do the things they loved. "If our friends were busy, we had no other way to find like-minded company. We wanted to solve this problem for ourselves and the world around us," says Sampath.
The initial challenges, while building this company, according to Sampath, were mostly the lack of funds and good engineering talent. "It took us a lot of effort and perseverance to build the fantastic team we have today," he says.
Prasanna is a Silicon Valley veteran with more than 10 years of experience leading teams, merging organisations and improving systems and processes. Sampath is a product management professional who had a three-year stint at Walmart in the US before returning back to India. He then managed couple of products at Indix, a tech startup in Chennai. Murali is a standup comedian, a theatre artist and a master storyteller.
As far as the team is concerned, they made a conscious decision to hire folk only from within their circle of friends or friends of friends. In addition to skillsets, culture-fit and attitude were important to the team. "We strongly believe that commitment comes from within. We communicate the direction and priorities and let our employees set their own deadlines for work," adds Sampath.
The team has for the past four weeks made the Android app available on the PlayStore and has seen close to 2000 people sign up, create various activities and do exciting things together. "People have been very enthusiastic and have expressed very positive feedback about the idea and the app. Brigge is growing and we believe this could help change the way people approach leisure," adds Sampath.
He says that while there are similar apps out there, the concept is new because unlike other social networking portals that like to keep the user hooked onto the app, Brigge intends to get people out and bring back real-world interactions. "People have begun to adopt Brigge very nicely in Chennai, and we are slowly seeing traction in Bangalore and other cities as well," says Sampath.
"Our system is hosted in the AWS cloud. The backend is built on the Django framework with the PostgreSQL database. Our system is built for high availability with auto-scaling capability for a sudden surge in traffic. We use various tools such as Crashlytics and New Relic, Insping for system health check and JIRA, Slack for planning and communication," says Sampath.
The team recently got funding from the Chennai Angels; they claim they are the first company that the Chennai Angels have funded at an idea stage. Brigge decided to launch on the mobile platform first with an Android app that is available on the Play Store; they are working on the iOS and Web versions.
Brigge aims to be the one-stop shop for leisure. Sampath says that they want everybody in India who wants to do things they love to be able to find company using Brigge. "We also plan to start expanding to other countries and letting them start doing things and living a more active and fulfilling life as well," says Sampath.