The duo hope to cause ‘a revolution in socializing’ and combat loneliness and isolation – and say Manchester is the perfect place to start.
Two Manchester-based entrepreneurs are launching a new app helping people meet and make new friends – and start with the city’s students.
Linkup was created by Ben Whatson from Wilmslow and Jack Peagam, who live in Deansgate and initially teamed up to found a fitness platform.
The duo say they hope Linkup will make it easier for people to find new friends at a time when social isolation and loneliness are major issues, and have chosen to launch it when thousands of students come to Manchester to start their higher education.
They have also gained high profile support in the world of online influencers and social media.
What is Linkup and how was it created?
Linkup was born after Jack and Ben were in London and wanted to meet new people to chat over a few beers, and realized there was nothing around that would make that easy.
Ben said: “We’re both social butterflies and couldn’t figure out why there wasn’t an app to meet new people. There are many dating apps, but nothing to meet new friends in your area with similar interests.
“We saw that initial opportunity and since then it’s gone from zero to 100.”
Jack added: “The more we talked to people, the more we realized that meeting people who like the same things you do is a fundamental problem. There is nothing to facilitate spontaneous meetings either, at the moment. If you try to live in the moment, you don’t want to wait until next week to do what you want to do.
Linkup works by creating a meeting point through the app which can take place immediately or within the next 24 hours. The person who created the link sets a category, such as drinks, sports, or fitness, and then goes to a discovery page that lets users see what’s happening in their area.
There is also a chat function to talk to people before attending and get the details and in times where security in the online world and in the night economy are big issues, link builders have also control over people’s acceptance and rejection of events. and can also end a meeting if they wish.
Linkup is Jack and Ben’s second project, as they initially started working together on an online fitness platform called Actve based on exclusive content they launched at the start of the first lockdown in 2020.
When is the Manchester launch and why is it happening in the city?
Linkup will launch on September 15 and its first customers will be students from Manchester universities. Manchester has a huge student population with over 96,000 people, including around 17,500 from overseas, studying at its higher education institutions.
Jack and Ben say they believe the town they now call home is the perfect place to run Linkup.
Jack said: “Manchester is a great place to start. I would say it’s the second largest city in the UK compared to London and London would just be too big to start with. We need to get critical mass in one city and South London and North London might as well be two different cities.
“Manchester is very vibrant and all the students are coming to town, freshmen are coming from all over, the city is full of students. We think this is the best place to launch Linkup.
Ben added: “Manchester is such a thriving student city and also has a vibrant nightlife. We are looking to take advantage of that.
“Meeting people isn’t as easy as it used to be. Some uni’s went online with their classes and with Covid people got trapped inside and got cabin fever.
“We’re going to create a social app that makes people social, so they can go out and adventure together.”
Linkup is currently working with brand ambassadors from three universities in Manchester and Salford and they will be posting regular links and attending meetings to try and get the concept going.
The app has also attracted slightly more high-profile investors, including hip hop duo Krept & Konan, YouTuber Calfreezy and other influencers and footballers.
Jack and Ben say they eventually envision Linkup as a way for celebrities to meet lucky fans, hosting events that a handful of those who request to join will then receive invitations to exclusive things like joining someone at a table in a club or meet backstage at a concert.
Why do Jack and Ben think Linkup will be something people will enjoy?
Jack and Ben say they don’t think it’s particularly easy to meet new people in the 21st century and they’ve spotted a necessary niche for Linkup.
Ben said: “We live in a lonely society. We first thought of the app wanting to go have a beer with someone, but realized we were tackling something bigger than that.
Some statistics on social isolation and loneliness, especially among young people, are disturbing for reading.
And Psychology Today published a report suggesting that 73% of Gen Z (the group of people born between the late 1990s and early 2010s) reported feeling lonely sometimes or always.
Ben said: “Very simply, we want to help people socialize, meet and connect in the real world. We want to empower people to use technology in a positive way to break out of those cycles of loneliness. . »
You can pre-register for the app online and it will be available in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.