Finding something to do can easily become overwhelming. Imagine instead of scrolling through dozens of Facebook and Meetup events, your phone could filter through the noise for you?
That’s Spontivly — a personal event assistant that uses geo-fencing, static algorithms and calendar integration to curate experiences based on a user’s interests, availability and location in realtime. The app, which will be available for download on Android and iOS fall 2019, connects users to their communities in a more meaningful way.
The idea for Spontivly was inspired by CEO and co-founder Anthony Nagendraraj's struggle to find people to do things (namely recreational sports) with. While the app still facilitates these connections, customer validation work helped Anthony discover that it was less about finding people and more about letting people know what is going on in their communities.
“There’s so much information that gets thrown at individuals that people don’t know what’s happening in their communities,” Anthony says.
Inspired by what he learned in Preflight — Startup Edmonton’s flagship program — Anthony conducted a survey to test his initial idea. The results were staggering: out of the 300 individuals he interviewed, 80 per cent didn’t know what was happening after they left the community centre, and 90 per cent were willing to participate in an activity with a stranger.
“It's not finding the person, I realized, it’s about allowing people to know what’s going on in their community in a more efficient way... That’s where the breakdown is occurring,” he says.
Spontivly’s map-based interface is simple to use and features both hyper-local and major events — from Jane Austen study groups to 2,000-seat concerts. Users can create their own activities and have the option of making them private (only available to friends) or public (broadcast to a wider audience).
In addition, Spontivly works in the background to notify users of events they may be interested in — without even having to open the app.
“Right now we’re running off a custom logic that we created,” CTO and co-founder Rooh Raj Aujla explains.
The current algorithm is all about creating a customized experience that a person of a certain demographic and with certain interests might wish to attend. As people start to use the platform, Spontivly will continue to improve the user experience algorithms with the help of AI.
“The biggest thing about an AI system is that you need curated data to encourage your AI algorithm to learn in the right direction,” Rooh Raj explains.
Though Spontivly isn’t yet available for download, it is live and operational for a set of pilot users in post-secondary institutions.
In April 2019, the team partnered with the University of Alberta and MacEwan University to test the app. These partnerships provide Spontivly with valuable customer feedback, and in return post-secondaries can track participation to better inform on-campus events.
This idea of, quite literally, building communities through the app is something that Chief Business Development Officer and co-founder Raj Rajakumar would like to see expanded in the future. An urban planner by trade, he believes Spontivly could help municipalities make better programming decisions — which in turn would create deeper connections between residents and their communities.